A public meeting is to be held in Armagh tomorrow (Friday) as a campaign to save breast cancer assessment services at Craigavon Area Hospital gains momentum.
A number of online petitions have been set up and already thousands have voiced their opposition.
There are also petitions in circulation too for people to put pen to paper.
These are being made available to sign in shops and pubs across Armagh city and further afield.
They will also be available to sign at the public meeting in Armagh on Friday, which is due to take place at the Cathedral Road Recreational Centre, at Sherry’s Field.
The meeting is due to last for an hour and will get underway at 6.30pm.
All are invited to come along and hear exactly what is being proposed – and why it is so important that we as a community unite in opposition to the proposals.
Under the proposals, revealed less than two weeks ago, the breast cancer assessment centre at Craigavon Area Hospital could close.
The public consultation is underway on a move which would see the number of such centres in Northern Ireland cut from five to three.
The centres at Altnagelvin, on the Glenshane Road in Derry/Londonderry, as well as at Antrim Area Hospital and the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, would stay open.
But both Craigavon and Belfast City Hospital could lose their assessment centre.
There has been outrage at a local level that Craigavon could lose out with the “complete removal of the breast diagnostic centre”.
Figures provided by the charity Knitted Knockers say the proposals would mean the complete removal of all out-patient breast cancer services requiring a breast cancer diagnosis, both benign and malignant, with patients having to travel to one of the three proposed centres.
The number of breast cancer diagnoses at Craigavon have increased year on year over the past three years, from 290 in 2016, to 295 in 2017, 311 last year, and already over 100 in the first three months of this year.
Knitted Knockers says thousands are seen annually at Craigavon and have urged people to write to their public representatives, sign petitions and make their views known.
The consultation document can be accessed at www.health-ni.gov.uk/consultations/reshaping-breast-assessment-services
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