Bradshaw calls for implementation of cancer research report

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has called for work to begin immediately on the recommendations of a major report into cancer services.

The South Belfast MLA said the report, by Cancer Research UK and entitled Where Now for Cancer Services in NI, was in line with what many other organisations in the health sector had been saying about where gaps in provision lie.

“We are hearing consistently waiting lists are too long because too many people are on them in the first place who would not need to be if we had better diagnostic services. If we are to be serious about investing in prevention and early diagnosis, we cannot allow waiting time targets to be so consistently missed in an unreformed system.

“The report also highlights areas which have received less exposure in the media such as inadequate collection and retention of data, particularly in relation to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“Northern Ireland is the only jurisdiction in the UK lacking a comprehensive cancer strategy. This is absolutely essential to the implementation of a cancer services framework, which has been on the shelf for far too long.

“There is no reason to doubt much of what appears in the recommendations of the Expert Panel chaired by Rafael Bengoa will be in line with what appears in this report. We have heard now from countless reviews and reports where the gaps in our health and social care provision lie. What is lacking is a real determination to reform the service and address those gaps. We know what reform is required – there should be no further delay in implementing it.”

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