Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
May I, on behalf of the Democratic Unionist party, echo and pass on congratulations to the Prime Minister and Carrie Symonds on the birth of their son?
The headline in this morning’sBelfast Telegraph speaks about deaths of those not infected by the virus—people who had not been attending hospital and desperately needed treatment. Will the First Secretary advise us of the measures that the Government intend to take to address the issue and to ensure that more people are able to attend for treatment, including cancer patients?
"I thank the right hon. Gentleman and pay tribute to all the work he and the Northern Ireland Executive are doing at this difficult time. He is absolutely right to raise the challenge within the NHS more generally of dealing not just with covid-19, but with the wider conditions that people have. The chief medical officer has made it very clear: we have the capacity. The plans that we put in place and delivered through the Nightingale hospitals, the ventilators and the critical care capacity are there to deal not only with coronavirus, but with other non-covid priorities, whether they are urgent or whether they are other forms of treatment in relation to cancer or otherwise.
I am certainly willing to work with the Health Secretary and the Northern Ireland Secretary to make sure that we can deal with and address any particular challenges faced in Northern Ireland. It is absolutely crucial as we go through this crisis that that NHS capacity is protected, and that is one of the reasons we introduced the social distancing measures and why it is important that they have been so effective."