The Upper Bann MP said,
"In March the Minister was clear in his determination that cancer services should be resilient to future Covid surges. He rightly recognised that impacts on these services would lead to projected increases in cancer cases. However, as we face an upturn in hospital admissions because of the Delta variant, we once again are seeing urgent cancer procedures being cancelled.
Clearly the Department envisaged a situation whereby Covid surges would occur, but people will ask whether the plan is properly in place to deal with the situation we now find ourselves in.
We know that hospitals and our fantastic healthcare staff are facing increased pressures due to increases in Covid transmission, but the importance of the plan was to ensure that steps were taken to deal with this.
We need the Minister to get to grips with this situation. With winter pressures and potentially new variants of COVID emerging in the coming months patients will be seeking reassurance that they will see action not just words, and a robust plan to ensure cancer patients can avail of the surgery they will need over coming months. The resilience promised by the Minister must be delivered.”
On 25th March the Minister said,
“Officials are currently finalising a Cancer Recovery Plan to address the immediate issues in cancer services with the aim of getting us to a place where services are stronger than before; and to ensure that the delivery of cancer services is resilient to potential future surges of COVID-19 and to the projected increase in cases of cancer.”