Independent TD for Offaly, Carol Nolan, has urged the Health Minister, Simon Harris, to ensure the National Cancer Strategy will not be put in jeopardy by the massive over-spend racked up in building the National Children’s Hospital (NCH).

Deputy Nolan made her comments after obtaining an answer to a parliamentary question from Minister Harris which confirmed the cost of implementing the national cancer strategy – expected to roll-out between now and 2026 – will be in the region of €840 million.

“We know that the cost of developing the NCH is going to be at least a billion euro more than originally anticipated,” said Deputy Nolan.

“This was confirmed by the Government’s own Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) Report when it found that the current €1.43bn cost is set to increase by €290m, bringing it to €1.73bn. The original estimate for the cost was €650 million.”

“When you compare this with the total estimated cost that the Minister has provided to me for the implementation of the entire National Cancer Strategy, then we can really see the enormity of the challenges that are going to be confronted and the waste that has been incurred.”

“That timeframe could have been significantly reduced if the department did not have to find funds to meet the exorbitant costs associated with the NCH,” she remarked.

“I also think these figures should be seen in the context of the refusal of the Minister to amend the Health Act 1970 in order to remove inpatient charges for cancer patients. This is another issue I questioned him about recently.”

“What cancer patients and their families now want is to be absolutely assured that the implementation of the National Cancer Strategy will not be affected by these out of control costs at the NCH. It is the least they deserve,” the Offaly TD asserted.