Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson, Roy Beggs MLA, has said the latest publication of cancer waiting times illustrate what really is at stake with the continued wrangling at Stormont.
“Cancer is a disease that thrives in a vacuum, so the sooner it is detected and treatment can begin, the better the chance a patient has of a successful outcome.
“Compared to twelve months ago the two key targets which cancer services are measured against have both worsened. It is outrageous that in March only 69% of patients started treatment for cancer within 62 days following an urgent referral, despite the target being 95%.
“It is frightening that there appears to be a real crisis within breast cancer services in the Southern Trust. The official government target is that every single urgent breast cancer referral should be seen within 14 days, yet during the month of March in the Southern Trust only 35 patients out of 192 - or 18% - were seen within a fortnight.
“These latest waiting times lay bare the tragedy of what is happening across our health service. Whilst Sinn Fein claim they are committed to resolving the crisis it is them, and them alone, who stand in the way of a new Executive being formed which could actually take the measures needed. This should be more than enough to shame them into putting the needs of local patients ahead of their own political priorities.”