Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has expressed her shock at figures showing cancer waiting time targets are being missed, with the situation regarding long-term treatment is getting worse.
South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw said there was no time to waste in delivering a cancer strategy and waiting lists plan, in order to address the issue immediately.
“These figures show a drift in 62-day waiting times, with fewer than two-thirds of cancer patients now actually beginning their treatment within two days. That is a totally unacceptable figure by the Minister’s own admission.
“We heard at the start of this term there would be a joined-up approach and the Minister would work together for the common good. What we actually have is delay and miscommunication. This comes at a real human cost.
“I am alarmed the Minister is already moving away from accepting proposals for change have already emerged and must be acted upon, instead seeming to talk of endless consultation as if we are not already clear what the task is.
“In this case, we need a cancer strategy and a waiting lists plan, and in the long-term a shift towards primary care teams which will reduce referrals, signpost people more effectively, and thus reduce waiting lists.
“We already have the evidence base from which to proceed, so now is the time to stop talking, stop delaying, and get on with it.”