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Petition calls for Northern Ireland to get equal cancer drugs access

By Luke Barnes

Published 20/09/2016

A petition containing more than 10,000 signatures calling for better access to cancer drugs has been delivered to Stormont. Stock image
A petition containing more than 10,000 signatures calling for better access to cancer drugs has been delivered to Stormont. Stock image

A petition containing more than 10,000 signatures calling for better access to cancer drugs has been delivered to Stormont.

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw said those suffering cancer in Northern Ireland should be able to get the same life-saving drugs people in England can access.

Ms Bradshaw said: "We pay the same taxes and National Insurance, yet when the time comes to use the services we pay for we find we are deliberately disadvantaged purely because of where we live. It is unequal and unjust."

Ms Bradshaw dismissed the notion that the restrictions on cancer drugs were due to money, pointing to the millions of pounds that are "pumped into the system" prior to elections.

She said: "The funding required for vital drugs is but a drop in the ocean of the overall health budget and could be found if the will existed."

Ms Bradshaw paid tribute to the courage of her fellow campaigners and said it was time for Stormont to act.

"Every person in the Chamber today knows cancer is something which can strike any one of us at any time. This is why the petition has struck a chord with the public. Campaigners have adapted - now it is time for the minister to do the same and prioritise delivery on this issue over the coming weeks."

Margaret Carr of Cancer Research UK called on the Health Minister to develop a comprehensive cancer strategy for Northern Ireland. "We believe that all patients should have access to treatments which are best for their disease," she said.

Belfast Telegraph

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