Judith Cochrane MLA said: “Young cancer sufferers are currently being treated alongside adults and, therefore, they are often left out when it comes to receiving age-specific support, social work and wider psychosocial support, which is so crucial for young cancer patients and their subsequent recovery.
“Offering support to those going through treatment can ease the demand on services in later years. Investment is required to improve the timely and equitable access for all children and young people with cancer and their families to effective and efficient services, to continuously improve outcomes.
“There is already a report entitled ‘Service Framework for Cancer Prevention, Treatment and Care’ that recognises the need for a distinct service for teenagers and young adults. However the Health Minister needs to provide appropriate funding for the Northern Ireland Cancer Network (NICaN) to ensure effective oversight of the implementation process.
“Following such an informative and constructive debate, focusing not only on the plight of young cancer patients in East Belfast, but throughout Northern Ireland, I am grateful to the Minister for his renewed commitment to meeting the needs of those affected. I will continue to monitor developments from the Minister and his department as we move forward to ensure we achieve the appropriate and necessary standards of care for our children and young people.”