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Cancer waiting times extremely concerning, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said cancer waiting times are extremely concerning, as figures released for June showed little improvement on previous statistics.

The latest figures from the Department of Health showed 324 patients commenced their first treatment for cancer following an urgent referral. Of them, 56.2 per cent started treatment within 62 days, compared with 55.4 per cent at the same time last year.

“The situation with regard to diagnosis and treatment of cancer in many cases remains grim, and it is concerning not enough focus is currently on them,” said South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw.

“We hear regular updates, quite correctly, about the situation with regard to COVID-19, but we do not see the same level of briefing concerning general health services, not least with regard to cancer diagnosis and treatment across the board.

“What we do not see in these figures is the story across all cancers, nor do we see how many diagnoses have potentially been missed. There is significant concern about medical professionals I speak to people are being left without diagnosis or without vital care.

“What we need to see in media briefings is a broader picture of how services are being restored and an assurance our focus on COVID-19, while understandable, is not so all-encompassing that vital care is missed elsewhere.”