An innovative, world-first healthcare service for Ireland will help re-establish the damaged trust that patients have in the system, a congregation at the Royal College Of Physicians was told this morning.
Also in attendance for the launch of the National Quality Assurance Programme In Histopathology was Nessa Childers, MEP, who warmly welcomed the development.
‘This is really a new standard in quality diagnosis for every single patient in Ireland,’ Ms Childers said shortly after the event.
‘We know that the key to beating many strains of cancer – as well as other diseases – is early diagnosis and therefore this is a facility that will really save lives.’
The quality assurance programme allows for tissue sample results and analysis to be processed through a single, central system – a collaboration which means more medical experts can pool their knowledge and skills. All 25 of the State’s laboratories and all eight private laboratories have agreed to share their results with each other, although patient confidentiality will not be compromised.
‘At the meeting,’ Ms Childers said, ‘I also received assurances from the panel that money will not be a factor in the immediate implementing of this programme. That means that whether public or private, patients stand to benefit equally.’
‘I believe that Ireland is actually the first country to adopt this national system,’ Ms Childers, an independent MEP, added, ‘and I learned that we are currently being observed by the Canadian health service in the hope that they can adopt a similar scheme in the future.’
‘This is a hugely important advance in patient safety and treatment,’ said Dr Niall Swan, a consultant histopathologist at St Vincent’s Hospital involved in the programme. ‘This will drive improvement and ultimately reduce errors.’
Ms Childers is co-chair of the MEPs Against Cancer group, which brings together medical professionals, patient organisations, politicians and academics to debate current issues and legislation, and to inform and educate MEPs in their decision-making.
Since being elected in 2009, Ms Childers has twice been nominated for MEP Of The Year in the Health category.