The South Belfast MLA said the Health and Wellbeing 2026 vision, which was launched by then-Health Minister Michelle O’Neill last year, needed implemented urgently, with one increasingly important area of concern being prostate cancer. She added improvements in pathways for men with the disease are now being delayed by the failure of the big parties to agree a route forward.
“Our health service is in desperate need of reform – no one can argue that. This plan has the chance to do that but first it must be given the opportunity. Without an Executive providing political direction, it will not get off the ground. Every day we go by without a functioning government, more people go on suffering.
“I had meetings this week in relation to prostate cancer, which will be the most common form of cancer in Northern Ireland within the next 15 years. There, we find inadequate pathways, postcode lotteries, and nearly 100 men having to travel to England every year for vital surgery.
“The core issues are much the same as with many other conditions – we need improved workforce planning, better use of facilities, and a more responsible balance between local clinics and specialist treatment centres.
“Our system of government is such that two parties are required to agree for an Executive to be formed. With those large mandates come large responsibility. For our part, Alliance will continue to work hard through the summer to ensure an Executive is restored urgently and issues such as prostate cancer are tackled with the diligence needed.”