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Commitment to increase radiation therapy course places in Irish colleges is welcome – Burke

29th February 2024 - Colm Burke TD

A commitment to boost radiation therapy course places will address a shortage in the number of those professionals is extremely welcome, according to Fine Gael TD Colm Burke.

Deputy Burke, Fine Gael’s Health spokesperson, has long called for the number of training places in third level colleges to be expanded to prioritise the vital service for cancer patients.

Deputy Burke said: “There is an urgent need to immediately increase the number of training places for radiation therapists.

“This is a significant issue for our healthcare system. There is currently a 30-35% shortfall in radiation therapists nationally, with a staffing shortfall currently over 40% in CUH.

“Last October I met with Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, and representatives from the Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork Radiation Therapy programmes, as well as a number of Radiation Therapy Professionals. We discussed proposals which would see an expansion of student numbers on the radiation therapy programmes in Trinity and UCC.

“This has a huge impact on our ability to deliver radiation treatments to patients in a timely manner, on patient outcomes, prognosis and the earlier presentation of secondary cancers, among others.

“Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris, confirmed to me that officials from his Department and the Department of Health recently met with representatives from the two universities to continue to explore how further expansion in student numbers can be enabled.

“Both institutions undertook to provide further information to the Department of Health in relation to placement and practice tutor requirements.

“He said there is a great willingness from universities to improve the position, which could hopefully see the number of places increased from September.

“The work that the Minister and his officials have undertaken in this area is extremely welcome. Increasing the number of places would be a huge step toward resolving this issue and improving our radiation therapy services for cancer patients,” Deputy Burke concluded.

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