DUP MP Carla Lockhart has written to Health Minister Robin Swann MLA to press for cancer care to take greater priority in 2022, with a focus on addressing aspects of care impacted by the pandemic.
Carla Lockhart said:
“Since the start of the pandemic, the impact on cancer care has been significant. Diagnosis of cancer has been missed or delayed due to a reduction and restriction on services. This has led to prognosis being impacted on, and sadly some have lost their lives due to this.
Similarly, there are many people across Northern Ireland who have had cancer operations – even red flag procedures – cancelled at short notice. This is devastating to the patient and their loved ones and of course also can impact on their prognosis.
We need to see 2022 as a year when catch up within cancer care is a health focus. Whilst COVID will remain with us, we simply cannot put cancer patients and cancer care behind COVID in the queue for care. If we do, lives will be lost that could have otherwise been saved. That is the stark reality.
Over the Christmas period I have had several families contact me concerning appointments they are waiting on for cancer treatment/diagnosis. This is just unacceptable and needs addressed.
I hope the Health Minister will work to protect and enhance the cancer care provision over this coming year. This will require investment, and ministerial direction. I hope this will be seen in 2022 and that cancer patients will be prioritised as they ought to be.”