Dickson Receives an Update on the Cancer Strategy for NI
On the 16th April, East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, asked the Minister of Health for an update on the development of a Cancer Strategy for Northern Ireland.
As a cancer survivor himself, Mr Dickson has taken a significant interest in the provision of cancer services available in Northern Ireland, and has regularly emphasised the need for the development of a comprehensive Cancer Strategy.
Understandably the delivery of the Cancer Strategy was delayed for a short period of time due to the redeployment of staff in response to the Covid-19 crisis. However, in responding to Mr Dickson, the Minister assured that work has now resumed fully.
Mr Dickson said: “I am pleased to hear that the Cancer Strategy is back on the department’s agenda and is expected to be available for external consultation this summer. I have been told that the strategy will be aligned with the wider Covid-19 healthcare recovery plan, ‘Building Back; Rebuilding Better,’ which will be crucial to ensure join-up across healthcare providers.
We have learnt from the past that attempting to tackle cancer in a silo is ineffectual. To truly tackle this disease head-on, we need to ensure that the whole system works together seamlessly.”
However, whilst welcoming the update, Mr Dickson also noted that there are significant costs associated with the plan, and that delivery will be subject to considerable investment being granted.
Mr Dickson stated: “I would implore the Minister to keep a steady eye on the development of the Cancer Strategy to ensure it does not succumb to any bureaucratic barriers, and receives the level of financial support that it requires.”