MLA calls for Northern Ireland cancer strategy

Attending the Macmillan Celebration of Nurses were from left to right Cherith Semple - Nurse of the Year and Macmillan health and neck clinical nurse specialist, Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, Sally Lynch - Community Specialist Palliative Care Nurse at Lurgan Hospital and Heather Monteverde - General Manager Macmillan Cancer NI.

Attending the Macmillan Celebration of Nurses were from left to right Cherith Semple - Nurse of the Year and Macmillan health and neck clinical nurse specialist, Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, Sally Lynch - Community Specialist Palliative Care Nurse at Lurgan Hospital and Heather Monteverde - General Manager Macmillan Cancer NI.

Northern Ireland needs a cancer strategy to help support patients and specialist nurses, a local MLA has demanded.

MLA Jo-Anne Dobson was speaking following a charity event held by Macmillan Cancer at Stormont to celebrate the contribution which Macmillan Nurses make by providing person-centred care for cancer patients throughout their journey.

Supporting the charity and the event local MLA Jo-Anne Dobson who is Chairperson of the Stormont All Party Group on Cancer said: “Every day around 30 people in Northern Ireland receive the terrible news that they have cancer.

“However with modern advances in diagnosis and treatment greater numbers of people are living longer and surviving beyond cancer.

“That brings into focus the need to support the specialist nurses who provide support to patients and their families throughout their cancer journey.

“I was honoured to get the chance to join Macmillan at their event to celebrate the contribution of those nurses and once again join them in calling for a Northern Ireland cancer strategy as we look to the future.

“Through their hard work and expertise Macmillan and their fellow cancer charities are working extremely hard every day to support patients and their families and this work must continue.

“People with cancer need tailored and person-centred care which provides access to the support that’s right for them. We know that patients who had access to a Clinical Nurse Specialist have a significantly better experience that those who do not. Which is why, as we look to the future, we must ensure that we have more specialist nurses to continue to deliver high levels of skill and competency, to lead change and to build on best practice care.

“I once again join Macmillan in encouraging the Executive to bring forward as a matter of urgency a Cancer Strategy for Northern Ireland - one which must be accompanied by a resourced and measured action plan.”