Long Waiting Lists for Red Flag Cancer Referrals a result of Political Instability, says Alliance MLAs

Alliance Party MLAs have said extensive waiting lists in the Western Trust are a symptom of political instability in Northern Ireland and an Executive is required to deliver financial certainty to address the issue. New figures from the Western Trust show that red flag cancer patients can wait up to twenty weeks before seeing a specialist consultant, with long-waiting lists also reported in other areas. 

Health Danny Donnelly Paula Bradshaw

Without an Executive and a Health Minister to drive change, and to deliver long-term budgets with a commitment to financially support transformation, we will be unable to bring down these outrageous waiting lists,” said Ms Bradshaw, who is the Alliance Party Health Spokesperson and Chair of the All Party Group on Cancer.


These figures from the Western Trust are a symptom of the political instability and a failure of politics here to take action. This week the All Party Group on Cancer agreed to send a cross-party letter to the Department of Health’s Permanent Secretary to express our concerns over waiting times. It is clear that all political parties here agree on the direction of travel, however, we need to end the ransom politics that is embedded in our system.


We know that the cancer prevalence is going to rise with our age population, and an Executive is essential to ensuring the delivery and funding required for the ten-year Cancer Strategy.”


Alliance Party MLA Danny Donnelly added, “It is so frustrating to see waiting times for cancer at such high levels when we know what needs to be done to bring them down. Late last year, the Department of Health announced the opening of two Rapid Diagnosis Centres, one in Whiteabbey and the other in Dungannon. These are a step in the right direction and recommended by the Cancer Strategy, however, we need more of these and urgently.


We also have an Elected Care Framework, which will cost £700m to deliver and allow those in need of surgery to pass through the system more quickly. The groundwork is there but we cannot build the Health Service that Northern Ireland deserves without an Executive to prioritise the long-term funding required to make this happen. We need to reform Stormont’s institutions and we need grown-up politics for the well-being of our population.”