Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew has expressed his concern about the cancellation of urgent cancer surgery by the Belfast Health Trust.
The chair of the Health Committee said:
“Recent announcements by the Belfast Trust that urgent care for red flag cancer cases have been cancelled and news that the Western Trust has postponed some elective inpatient and outpatient day surgeries is deeply worrying and must be devastating to those people and their families due to receive vital procedures and treatments.
“Our entire health and social care system is under unprecedented pressure due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and hospitals are operating beyond their capacity with a lack of beds and available staff. No doubt this poses significant challenges throughout the whole health care system.
“However, this current wave is not unexpected. The Minister of Health offered assurances that the provision of health and social care services would proceed even within the prevailing COVID crisis and that treatments would continue with as little disruption as possible.
“Unfortunately this does not appear to be the case.
“The absence of an effective find, test, trace and isolate system to combat the spread of the virus is an ongoing problem leading to these pressures on the system.
“The Minister needs to act fast to put in place plans to reinstate these services urgently for people awaiting this vital, and potentially life saving, care.”