Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew has called on the Minister for Health to set out his plans to resume thousands of cancelled red flag surgeries as a matter of urgency.
The chair of the health committee said:
“By the beginning of February this year, numbers from the Department of Health showed that approximately 4,300 red flag cancer procedures have been cancelled since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.
“The COVID – 19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented pressures which have caused significant disruption to the entire health and social care sector.
“However, we are one year into the pandemic, and we must find a pathway in which we can cope with the challenges of the pandemic while proceeding with treatments for non-COVID illnesses, particularly life-threatening red flag cancer procedures.
“A cancer diagnosis is, for many patients, a traumatic life event. To endure ongoing cancellations of life-saving treatment is an unimaginable burden and stress.
“Last year, the Minister for Health offered assurances that the rebuilding of services would proceed even within the prevailing COVID-19 situation.
“The numbers of cancellations of red flag cancer procedures would suggest this has not happened and that more must be done by the Minister for Health as a matter of utmost urgency.”