We all have a role in ensuring cancer procedures can proceed, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said we must all play a role to ensure cancer procedures are never again delayed on the scale announced this week.

Belfast Trust announced it had postponed 106 cancer-related hospital procedures this month, due to COVID-19 admissions continuing to rise and the subsequent pressure on hospitals.

“My view is on record and the evidence bank the Department released this week shows there should have been faster action on regulations designed to reduce the spread of the virus, not least to protect the health service and ensure urgent procedures could proceed,” said South Belfast MLS Ms Bradshaw.

“Nevertheless, the delay of 106 vital cancer procedures reminds us all the collective failure to act to restrict the spread of the virus has had serious consequences. We all need to refocus on the basics – hand hygiene, keeping our distance, wearing face coverings indoors and staying clear of crowds, contact and closed spaces.

“We cannot afford to take chances with this virus. Each and every one of us has a role in ensuring we follow the regulations and best practice, and thus do our bit to keep our health service open and enable our economy to re-open safely.

“Clearly we will continue to do what we can on the Assembly Health Committee and the All-Party Group on Cancer to ensure adequate resources are put in place so a situation like this is never repeated. However, I must also echo the Minister’s appeal to the public to recognise we must all strictly adhere to social distancing and hygiene advice so those who need urgent treatment – for cancer or anything else – can receive it without delay.”