Dobson angered with postponement of Stormont All Party Group meeting on cancer

Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson, Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, has expressed her anger after a meeting of the Stormont All Party Group (APG) on Cancer, scheduled to take place on Tuesday 20 September, was postponed as the Department of Health failed to provide an official to brief the group on the crisis engulfing cancer waiting times.

Jo-Anne Dobson, who Chairs the APG, said:

“At our previous meeting in June the members agreed that we would invite an official from the Department of Health to attend and brief us on Cancer waiting times.

“Despite putting a request through to the Health Minister’s private office weeks ago, we have not received an acknowledgement or a response.  We have therefore been left with no option but to postpone our meeting to another date.

“The issue of focusing on cancer patients, research and families affected is, and remains, our number one priority.  It’s a matter of regret that this would not seem to be the case for the Health Department. 

“Nevertheless we will continue to plan our future meetings with or without the attendance of a Departmental official.  I do however respectfully remind them that when an influential group like this makes a reasonable and timely request they, as public servants, should respond accordingly. 

“I would like to praise the continued work of all of the local charities who fight every single day to improve outcomes for cancer patients. 

“The All Party Group on Cancer allows MLAs from all political parties to meet and discuss issues affecting cancer. This is the full focus of this influential group at Stormont which has received briefings from cancer charities, leading research scientists, patients and their families.”

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