Coronavirus

Cancer patient whose case reduced Michelle O'Neill to tears to get chemotherapy

An emotional Michelle O'Neill broke down in the assembly while discussing a cancer patient's case
Rebecca Black, Press Association

A young woman suffering from cancer, whose worry about her scheduled treatment reduced deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill to tears, is set to receive chemotherapy on Monday.

TUV leader Jim Allister raised the case involving one of his North Antrim constituents in the Assembly.

He described how the young mother was worried that her chemotherapy course could be curtailed because of the mounting strain on the NHS caused by coronavirus.

READ MORE: 'Many thousands' in north may have coronavirus

Mr Allister challenged Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill over the situation, asking her how he could respond to her.

Ms O'Neill replied: "What do you say? What can you say to that person?"

She paused to compose herself during the Assembly session in Belfast.

With her voice breaking, Ms O'Neill continued: "These are the challenges we are going to have to deal with."

A young woman worried that the coronavirus outbreak would call a halt to her chemotherapy is to receive treatment on Monday

Mr Allister was contacted by a constituent worried about a relative's cancer treatment on Monday.

The patient said she was led to believe that a chemotherapy session scheduled for next week was likely to be her last.

The Northern Health Trust, which delivers services in Mr Allister's constituency, said: "We have no current plans to stop chemotherapy treatment."

Earlier this month, Stormont's Department of Health said: "Suspect cancer cases and other urgent care will continue, unless advised by the applicable trust."

Last night, Mr Allister said he has received assurances from Health Minister Robin Swann that the young woman will receive chemotherapy treatment next Monday.

"While I remain concerned that future treatment is subject to 'uncertainty regarding resources to deal with high risk patients', it is important that hope is not removed from such patients," he said.

"I thank the minister for enquiring about this case."

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