Time for parties to deliver on cancer commitments

It’s almost time for voters across Northern Ireland to choose which of the 276 candidates will fill the 108 seats in the next Assembly.

During the campaign, Macmillan NI asked all parties to commit to implementing the revised Cancer Services Framework and ensure equal access to clinical nurse specialists, person-centered care and advance care planning.

You can read more about each of our calls here.

Now, with just a week until the election, the political parties have launched their manifestos to spell out what they would like to achieve during the next five years.

We are delighted to see a wide range of policy goals which have the potential to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.

Here’s a selection of commitments on cancer care and related issues – parties in alphabetical order.

Alliance Party

  • Fully implement the Service Framework for Cancer Prevention, Treatment and Care.
  • Create a Comprehensive Cancer Strategy, addressing prevention, early detection, treatment and support for research.
  • Support parity of treatments and access to treatments with those available in the rest of the UK, including equity of access to drug treatments.
  • Provide Equal access to Clinical Nurse Specialists.
  • Ensure the Recovery Package is available to every patient progressing through and beyond treatment for cancer.
  • Promote of the use of Advanced Care Planning for people approaching end of life.

Democratic Unionist Party

  • Increase investment in cancer care by at least an additional 10% and introduce a new comprehensive cancer plan for the next decade.
  • Improve 5 year cancer survival rates by 20 percentage point from the establishment of devolved government.
  • Continue to promote awareness and prevention.
  • Establish innovative new services and provide more nurse specialists.
  • Support the additional investment of a minimum of £80 million to tackle waiting lists in each year of the Assembly term.

Green Party

  • Call for an independent review of the provision of support for older people at home, including the need for high-quality domiciliary care.
  • Work in partnership with charities and voluntary organisations that are championing patient care.
  • Promote health through the provision of safe walking, cycling routes, public parks, playgrounds, pitches, swimming pools and leisure centres.
  • Promote community healthcare, illness prevention and health promotion to combat the rising problems of obesity and its related diseases.
  • Support dignity in dying.

NI Conservatives

  • NHS should remain free to all at the point of use, and this extends to an opposition to the introduction of prescription charges in the NHS in Northern Ireland.
  • The Donaldson Report should be accepted in full by the Executive.
  • Services in Northern Ireland should be regionalised under a single umbrella Trust.
  • The time has come for the ‘Transforming Your Care’ agenda to become more than just words.
  • Potential should be unlocked through empowering community pharmacists through the commissioning of services from them.

Sinn Fein

  • Commit £1 billion to additional health spending;
  • Remove the ‘internal market’ within our health structures, specifically the commissioning/provider split;
  • Involve all health workers in decisions regarding the design of a health care system that best meets people’s needs;
  • Implement recommendations by the Older Person’s Commissioner on the culture of care provision, dealing with regulation and inspection, standards of care, protecting whistle blowers and training and value of workforce;
  • Increase first year training intake for G.P. specialism.

Social Democratic and Labour Party

  • Introduce an overarching Cancer Strategy with clear measurable targets and timescales with sustained funding at its core.
  • The introduction of a Cancer Drugs Fund for Northern Ireland.
  • Ensuring Ministerial targets for urgent Breast Cancer referral and treatment are complied with.
  • A ‘Tobacco-free Northern Ireland’ and the enactment of legislation banning smoking in cars with children.
  • Calling for the HPV vaccination programme to be extended to include adolescent boys.

Traditional Unionist Voice

  • Everyone newly diagnosed with cancer should have access to a Clinical Nurse Specialist.
  • Full compliance with Ministerial Targets for Cancer.
  • Support for guaranteed adequate funding to provide universal access to NICE approved drugs.
  • Support campaigns to highlight the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Ulster Unionist Party

  • Introduce a NI cancer care strategy.
  • Detect and treat earlier.
  • Plan for the implications of an older population.
  • Equal access to clinical nurse specialists.
  • Adopt NICE approved drugs.
  • Improve end of life care.

UK Independence Party

  • No more waiting lists for appointments to ease pain.
  • Ensure the NHS is free, at the point of need, for all Northern Ireland residents.
  • Demand a better deal for Carers.
  • Press for free car parking at hospitals for patients visitors.
  • Oppose the sale of NHS data to third parties.

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