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DUP South Antrim MLA Pam Cameron and Deputy Chair of the Health Committee said,

“These figures are deeply distressing but sadly unsurprising as the focus on covid has a knock-on impact on non-covid appointments.

Those with a life limiting or life threatening condition should be able to get the appointment they require. I was saddened to learn last week that Belfast Trust was delaying over 100 cancer appointments. That is not acceptable. No apology can ever compensate for the impact on the lives of those who need treatment urgently and are effectively having the door closed in their face.

That’s not how our Health Service was ever designed to be. Its uniqueness across the world was that the NHS has always been open to all, free at the point of need but covid has changed that. However, managing the effects of this virus can not be a trade off against those with the most serious illnesses being denied the treatments that give them hope and keep them alive. This is also another reason why people must observe the guidelines, those who refuse to do so are simply piling further pain upon the needy and further strain upon the nhs which they themselves will no doubt be in need of at some point of their lives.

I have urged the Health Minister to ask for support from elsewhere in the United Kingdom through what’s defined as Mutual Aid. There are areas of the Health Service where the military could ease the pressure on staff and could also play a massive role in helping ramp up testing within in the health and social care sector.”