Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson, Roy Beggs MLA, has said the revelation that there has been yet a further steep deterioration in one of the key cancer treatment times should be enough to force Karen Bradley into taking immediate action on the future of the Assembly.
Roy Beggs said:
“Cancer treatment targets are set because there is very sound medical evidence that the longer a patient has to wait for diagnosis or treatment, the greater the risk that they may ultimately come to harm.
“It is outrageous that in December only 60.5% of patients started treatment within 62 days following an urgent referral for suspected cancer. This is far below the target of 95%.
“Earlier this month the Department of Health announced that it would at long last be producing a Cancer Strategy for Northern Ireland. Yet it was also clear that the implementation of the new strategy would only be for a future Health Minister to decide upon. As an Executive is highly unlikely to be formed anytime soon, delays in its roll-out are inevitable.
“The Secretary of State needs to take action. No longer can she get away with wilfully holding a senior position in the Government, but still refusing to govern. If local Ministers cannot be appointed she should move immediately to introduce Direct Rule. Only then could key decisions be taken that actually have a chance of helping people.”