A new strategy for cancer in Northern Ireland

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland has launched a consultation for a new strategy to tackle cancer. Marion Laverty, Public Affairs Manager for ABPI NI writes about how we’re on the cusp of change to more caring, timely and high-quality cancer care.

The launch of today’s NI Cancer Strategy public consultation sees the culmination of over two years of work from a range of cancer experts including the ABPI in reviewing the whole spectrum of cancer services here in Northern Ireland.

The commitment and focus it has taken to bring the strategy to this point, even in the face of the pandemic when everything paused, is a testament to the will of those involved to see NI transform cancer care.

This consultation is an opportunity for everyone to work towards attaining the Department of Health’s vision that would allow NI to become one of the highest performing cancer healthcare systems internationally: Reiterating NI’s reputation for delivering caring, timely and high-quality cancer care.

Building the workforce to implement innovative practices in diagnostics and treatment. Closing the gap on patient survival rates and being that beacon of collaboration and a model of leadership.

In laying the foundations of the strategy, the ABPI shared our wealth of member experience in supporting cancer services throughout the UK. In it we detailed how working in partnership with the government, the NHS, NICE, and the wider life sciences community, and were able to reinforce our commitment and drive in the creation of the recommendations and our aspirations in the adoption of them.

Published earlier this year, the ABPI report ‘Cancer in 2020 and beyond1 acknowledges the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has had, especially on exacerbated in cancer services. The immediate focus of the NI Cancer Strategy to build on the NI Cancer Recovery Plan aligns with many of the report findings on how to meet those challenges.

By building on capacity and capability and utilising the opportunity to embrace and embed innovation, the restoration and renewal of services can evolve in effectiveness and efficiency.  

Every family in NI is touched by cancer. On average 26 people, each day receive a cancer diagnosis2. We are on the cusp of change here. The short, medium, and long-term recommendations set out in the strategy will enable us to become that collaborative, innovative, compassionate place of excellence for cancer care.

We at ABPI look forward to being part of that team that will lead, support, and enhance the transitions.

References

1Cancer in 2020 and beyond - Cross-sector insights into improving outcomes for cancer patients, ABPI, Mar 2021 

2Northern Ireland, Cancer Research UK, Accessed: June 2021

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