SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has said cancer patients are being failed as a result of the DUP’s continued boycott of the Stormont institutions.
He was speaking after the Department of Health released the latest cancer waiting time statistics, with all key targets once again being missed.
Mr McGrath called for the DUP to return to the Executive and allow the Assembly to sit so MLAs can begin to implement health service reform.
South Down MLA Mr McGrath said:
“The quarterly publishing of our cancer waiting time statistics has become routine, we know that all the key targets will be missed and we know that patients will face waits for treatment that just aren’t acceptable. It’s an absolute disgrace that we have allowed this to become the norm in the North and thousands of patients and their families are suffering as a result.
“When someone is suspected of having, or is diagnosed with cancer time is of the utmost importance. The sooner a patient is seen the better chance they have of making a full recovery. I can only imagine what a patient goes through when they have to wait longer than the target for treatment, knowing that every day counts.
“Nobody is arguing that a restored Assembly and Executive would transform our broken health system overnight, but the current situation leaves us powerless to take any action at all. The only way we are going to see progress in reforming our health service and better outcomes for patients is by getting back to work and beginning to deal with the issues that have already been kicked down the road for far too long.”