Cancer strategy must herald new era in transformation, says Bradshaw

Party News Health

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has welcomed the publication of a new ten-year cancer strategy, but cautioned it must be fully resourced and must herald a new era in the transformation of health and social care.

The strategy was launched by Health Minister Robin Swann and will include two prototype rapid diagnosis centres across Northern Ireland.

“The focus of the Minister’s announcement was on the new rapid diagnosis centres at Whiteabbey and South Tyrone, but in fact the strategy contains 60 high-level recommendations which would transform the way we approach cancer prevention, diagnosis and support over the next decade. Each of these recommendations is extremely important,” said Ms Bradshaw, who chairs the All-Party Group on Cancer at the Assembly.

“I strongly welcome that the strategy is backed by a funding plan, setting out clearly resources required and clarifying absolutely we will need an Executive to commit to delivering that resource.

“Most of all, the four themes behind the strategy are all essential, and each must be given fair attention. It is essential we improve how we treat cancer and how we support people living with it, but it is also essential to do far more to prevent cancer in the first place. That is what a large element of the implementation and resourcing of this strategy must be about.

“I welcome in particular the input of cancer charities and of those with lived experience of cancer, whose input to the strategy has been so vital and whose ongoing role in its implementation will be invaluable.

“This has the potential to be a significant day not just for how we approach cancer, but for how we transform health and social care towards a focus on systems, as well as on prevention and early intervention, over the coming years.”