Northern Ireland

‘Inequity’ for cancer patients in the north compared to rest of UK due to budget, Macmillan warns

The cancer charity has said the north faces a ‘sad state of affairs’

A study has shown cancer patients in Wales are waiting longer for care than in other comparable countries
Cancer patients in the north will be impacted by budget pressures, Macmillan has warned. (Alamy Stock Photo)

Cancer patients in the north face an “inequity” in terms of accessing treatments as a result of Stormont’s budget, a leading charity has warned.

Macmillan Cancer Support has spoken out in the wake of last week’s budget, which saw the Department of Health given £7.76bn.

The budget was opposed by health minister Robin Swann and his UUP colleagues, as he warned it would leave people at an “increased risk of harm”.

Speaking on BBC’s Sunday Politics show, Macmillan’s policy and public affairs manager Sarah Christie said cancer patients would be among those seriously impacted as a result of budget pressures.

“It shows an inequity across the UK if people aren’t able to access things that others in England are able to get,” she said of cancer treatments, adding it was a “really sad state of affairs”.

Ms Christie said patients in the north were already facing increased waiting times that were also affecting their mental health.

She also spoke of how the charity’s services are being stretched in terms of grants offered to patients, demand for which has increased “year-on-year” in the north.

“Inflation impacts on what we deliver. So we are put between a rock and a hard place in terms of the cost of our delivery and demand to meet that delivery,” she said.

Ms Christie added: “We don’t want to have to be paying people’s heating bills because they aren’t being looked after by the people who are elected to look after them.”