08 March 2019
DUP representatives have welcomed that the Department of Health is to commission a new Cancer Strategy, calling it a step forward and adding that an Executive is needed to drive forward that change.
They spoke of their deep frustration that one narrow issue is deemed more important than a cancer strategy which impacts on almost every family.
DUP Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart said, “This is something I am extremely passionate about, and I was involved in pushing for a cancer strategy in Northern Ireland when the Assembly was functioning.
Cancer patients cannot be left behind. We hear of the statistics daily and of the message that early diagnosis saves lives. Cancer treatment in Northern Ireland has vastly improved over the last 20 years but we must continue to strive for better. Advancement also needs a locally elected Health Minister in place to drive that change forward.
With a new Cancer Strategy lives could be transformed and saved with investment in a wide range of preventative and treatment programmes. I am delighted that the Department has announced this, which I believe will contribute to increasing survival rates.”
Health spokesperson and North Belfast MLA Paula Bradley added, “When someone receives a cancer diagnosis they want to ensure they will have access to proper, quick and easily accessible treatment. A Cancer Strategy will seek to make sure that is the case. Nobody should have an anxious or prolonged wait for treatment.
Through our Confidence and Supply Agreement we were able to secure £200 million for health transformation, with some of that money allocated to cancer services improvement. Advancement in service provision needs not just investment, but agencies, health professionals and an Executive working together to having a meaningful, lasting and positive change to our health service. To ensure this, all stakeholders should be included in consultation and forming policy to make it a far reaching cancer strategy which is fit for purpose."
It is deeply frustrating that one party continues block the Assembly and places its narrow priority ahead of important issues like this which impacts on almost every family.”