After hours care for oncology patients in Cork. - OvaCare


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After hours care for oncology patients in Cork.

12 Replies

I attended for my Avastin treatment last Thursday 7th August in a Public hospital in Cork. All patients were informed due to cut backs, the practice of being able to ring the oncology doctor on duty after half past five or at weekends for advice on post chemo problems is no longer available due to HSE cut backs. For out of hours service, patients should attend, an A and E dept or Southdoc. Now who in their right minds would want to go to A and E because of cross infection. Besides, if there is no oncology doctor on call there, the exercise is fruitless. This is another example of how us Cancer patients are being disregarded. I wonder are the other hospitals in Galway and Dublin adopting the same policy. Once many years ago, I had to contact the service to get new anti nausea. I am an old hand at this, and I feel so sorry for those starting on chemotheraphy because this back up or blanket of security has been taken from us. I have messaged one of the new Cork Ministers, and I am awaiting a reply.

12 Replies
cath40 profile image

Dreadful I know when I was sick rang the support team they always recommended avoiding a and e. Chemo is a scary world it helps knowing you can talk to someone.

in reply to cath40

It is great to know it was always there for back up but certainly woudnt go to A and E. Was there with hubby a few months back, when he broke some ribs, the amount of traffic in and out to patients is huge. When you get inside and see the poor people on trolleys knowing they will be there for the night and the doctors and nurses working under very bad conditions. No way would I go there. This guy I messaged, his Dad has just retired as a gp. He worked tirelessly with the I.M.O to improve things for gps and patients so I hope his son also has an interest in medical matters.

cath40 profile image
cath40 in reply to

It's the risk of infection is the problem with a and e. It's tough enough without support being taken away. There is a helpline with nurse from the Irish cancer society they are very good too

Hi Cath, I had forgotten about The Irish Cancer Society. For the moment hope we never need to see A and E. Yes there is cross infection with the amount of traffic in and out to the canteen alone. Was waiting 8 hours with hubby and the whole thing scared me. I did mention it to the triage nurse and the attitude was go home so. I got away with it using all the gel I could find.

daisies profile image

Oh Suzuki, that is dreadful to read. We are instructed to take care of ourselves; avoid infections; etc, etc, etc and then the support system mat is pulled from under your feet. It goes to show that a dedicated oncology in-ward should be the practice in all hospitals, whether public or private.

The nurse line at Irish Cancer Society will be available for some of the time, but talk to your GP who may be willing to give you his/her number. I would also be very slow to go to Southdoc, no matter how good they are and similarly with A& trying to explain everything to them would drive me up the 'wall' and I know my patience would be tested.

Another option, is for the hospital (CUH) to have a fully trained oncology nurse or registrar on duty, to talk to, as a start to having a permanent support in hospital.

We can talk about this at our next coffee get together and see if we can get some support... press/media.

As you know I am being treated in another hospital and am fortunate that there is a in-patient oncology ward so I know there is always someone to call in an emergency.

Hi Daisies, am seeing onocologist tomorrow and will clarify the matter with him. I would feel, he would be opposed to this decision. I know there are oncology wards in patients ward in CUH but does this mean this ward is closed for the weekend. I do hope I remember to ask tomorrow and will let you know the answer. I have not received any reply from the local Minister but perhaps he is on holidays and after all this is the weekend. Some patients were given hand outs, I think they were patients who have to travel some distance for treatment. I was told verbally. In fairness, I have had to use South doc, and found the service really good. It might teach me a lesson not to leave things drift though and attend my gp regularly. I feel the idea of going for the Avastin is enough and I dont visit my gp too often. Bad habit, I have to admit.

daisies profile image

Suzuki. I remembered your post, and also our discussions on the practice ' that if sick out of GP hours, the only way to get medical treatment was through A&E.

Well, with the proposed changes to HSE; cancer & medical reviews - I decided to e-mail Leo Varadker, Health Minister of this very issue. I only sent it last week and whether I get I reply is 'like that piece of string'. But as he is a qualified doctor, I thought he mind understand it a bit better. Did you ever get a response?

Hope all well.... I have fingers, toes etc crossed for my last session & scan next Monday. Trying to keep busy so that my mind is not dwelling on the results/


Hi Daisies, well I just might copy you. Although they said in the South that one of Regs had been ill and was coming back. It seems that some of the junior docs stay a few weeks and cant cope with what the professor copes with and they move on to some other branch of medicine. I never heard back from Dara Murphy and I will remind him of my query. Whatever about us, we can cope with stuff but new patients must find being ill at the weekend very worrying indeed. Thanks for reminding me, the more people get on Leos back the better as you said he was a doctors and has experience of what the HSE is like. Great that you will be completed next Monday and be recovery mode for Christmas. I sincerely hope the scan is good news. Yes the thing to focus on is that this is your last treatment, you will be well enough to enjoy Christmas and the festivities. It is an anxious time waiting for scan results and the poor prof just got one word from me last time "Really". Poor man has a lot of patience with me. You are right to keep busy, make plans to catch up with people and read some nice book and of course your new project in needlework. All the best Joan

HI Daisies, just to tell you, I have emailed Dara Murphy again outlining my original query and I have been very bold also contact Leo V. I said while I welcomed the proposal to build a new oncology radiology unit in CUH, that going to South Doc after hours to a doctor who hasnt access to your medical history or to a and e is not acceptable standard of care at the moment. In fact I told them both a and e was a dangerous place for us dealing with cancer as we are open to infection and Leo being a doctor is aware of that fact. Now on the other hand, that letter that came from Cuh came while the prof was on holidays and he knew nothing about it until a patient said it to him. He went ape and said no letter should leave his department without his knowledge or consent. I must ask next week at treatment what is the situation now, Why in gods name build a new unit when he cant staff the present one. But that is our government of the day for you. So with that, we both have done our little bit for the day. But its these things keep us going isnt it? It shows we have fight and spirit despite our battles. Joan

Hi Daisies just check my emails and I got a reply from Dara Murphy himself to say he was contacting Leo to inform him that the situation wasnt satisfactory and to see what appointments have been made at Onocology Unit since my original letter. I stressed that Cancer patients are open to infection at emergency departments. Wont the prof just love me for kicking up the dust, We do have a point, he is overworked and there is no point in going to South Doc when they dont know your medical history if you need medical attention. Will let you know if I hear more, Joan

marymarcy profile image

Obviously this is a very unsatisfactory situation and i hope something is done to restore the service but just in case this might help anyone new to all of this, definitely in my family's case,Carlow Kilkenny Waterford area, we have found the homecare nurses ( mam is quite well right now but we still get visits as her cancer is advanced and they also have a 24 hour helpline) are great for help and advice, eg suggesting maintenance steroids when mam wasn't doing so well, and a good GP has also been a great help, helping many times with different side effects and anxiety attacks, so dont forget those ports of call before A&E, ss well as the cancer society helpline.

Yes I know there are cut back all over and it would seem that part of the problem is that the junior docs moved on to another internship as they didnt like oncology. I cant say I blame them, it is not for everyone. Its okay for me I can cope most times but for people newly diagnosed its not the best situation to find yourself sick and no one to turn to. Up to the summer, if anyone got sick after hours, they could contact oncology jnr on duty to prescribe anti nausea etc and they would even phone the script to the chemist for you well that was my experience. So I am off on a campaign to set the position to rights. I have attended southdoc but with going for treatment every three weeks, I tend to stay away from gp. That is probably a good thing for me that I can manage. I have used the Irish Cancer Society helpline and the VHI nurse on call but they will mostly tell you get it checked out. I just think its unfair to those who are starting treatment and are more vunerable and scared. I do understand the main onc was on hols when this letter went out to the other hospitals and he wasnt too happy about it.

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