Aontú Deputy Leader Cllr Denise Mullen has stated that the reported increase in advanced cancer diagnoses and cancer deaths, may well be a result of the near singular focus on Covid-19 and the ignoring of non-Covid health issues.

Cllr Denise Mullen:

“The continued shutdown of large swathes of non-Covid healthcare services including cancer screening services created a ticking time bomb down the road. Add in to the equation the complete gutting of hospital capacity by the parties of the Executive to the point where there are only 32 available beds in my own constituency, and there is a real crisis in terms of cancer care in our healthcare system. Doctors have reported that instead of screening services detecting cancer, they are seeing patients report ill to their surgeries. Many doctors are diagnosing as a result more advanced cancer and are ill from the untreated side-effects.

There is the serious question of how many lives will this combination of shutting down our health services and the gutting of capacity cost? How many cases which could have been detected early in cancer screening or treated earlier through because of better diagnosis are now more advanced to the point of being terminal cases?”

“Furthermore, these are the cases and deaths which we are determining now. What about the people who are yet to go back for cancer screening after several months, or what about the people who are too scared to go their GP for fear of Covid-19? We now don’t have the capacity to respond to the cancer crisis unravelling before us. We now need to radically expand cancer screening and treatment to try and address the backlog and more advanced cases presenting themselves. Aontú has been raising this issue since the outset of the pandemic and it is shameful the Executive continued to ignore warnings from opposition parties and healthcare experts on the cost their absolute approach to Covid-19 would have.”