'Fantastic news' as health officials confirm Northern Ireland will finally get cancer strategy
After years of our campaigning, Northern Ireland's Department of Health says it will now develop a cancer strategy for the only Home Nation without one – and we're making sure prostate cancer is a key part of it.
Northern Ireland's Department of Health has today confirmed that it will develop a cancer strategy for the country. It is currently the only Home Nation without one and this is something we've long campaigned for as crucial for helping men there at risk of prostate cancer, or living with and after the disease.
In November, we held a roundtable meeting at Stormont, where the lack of a functioning executive has made any potential cancer strategy impossible so far. Key Members of the Legislative Assembly, health officials and charity representatives attended and agreed with us that prostate cancer treatment and care should be a key part of any future plans.
"It is fantastic news that Northern Ireland is finally going to have a comprehensive cancer strategy," says Heather Blake, our Director of Support and Influencing, who attended the roundtable (pictured above).
"An ambitious, overarching plan for cancer will play an essential role in improving the outcomes and experiences of men affected by prostate cancer, as well as ensuring that workforce and service provision is scaled up to cope with the increasing number of men diagnosed.
"We've been working with other cancer charities to impress upon the Department of Health the urgent need for this strategy and recently wrote to the permanent secretary reiterating that fact. Today’s announcement is the response we have been waiting for. We are ready and willing to join the independent taskforce and champion the needs of men with prostate cancer throughout the development process. In the meantime, we want to see a clear timeline agreed for completion. The sooner the strategy is developed, the sooner we can roll out improvements for men and save more lives."