The East Belfast MLA said,
“These cancer waiting times are of huge concern to everyone in Northern Ireland and they highlight the scale of the challenge facing our Health Service. Action taken by the Minister more recently in terms of investment into waiting lists will continue to make a difference, but the backlog is somewhat unknown given the cessation of checks during covid.
Those suggesting such statistics have developed since the Assembly election, do themselves and patients a disservice.
Cancer targets are still being missed by significant margins. This is undoubtedly part of the long tail of Covid-19 and the cancellation of services for so long.
That was something which we warned about at the time and it will undoubtedly be part of the inquiry into Covid when that occurs. The decision to stop routine checks was questionable at the time and I trust the Public Inquiry will closely examine that decision’s impact on cancer outcomes in 2022.”