The Department of Health is to commission a new cancer strategy for Northern Ireland.
Department of Health Permanent Secretary, Richard Pengelly, said: “Significant progress has been made over the past 20 years in developing cancer services in Northern Ireland.
“This has involved investing in a wide range of preventative, treatment and care programmes that have contributed to improvements in survival rates for cancer patients.
“However, the anticipated demographic change in forthcoming years means there is likely to be a significant growth in demand for cancer services, and we must prepare for these challenges. A new strategy would help us do that.”
The central goal of the new strategy will be to identity new ways of working to secure further advances across cancer care, and the Department will work with patients, staff and cancer charities in its development.
The Department has looked at the various arrangements that supported the development of cancer strategies in neighbouring jurisdictions, and sees merit in the model that was used by NHS England.
This involved the establishment of an Independent Cancer Taskforce which worked closely with professional cancer services staff, patients, cancer charities, commissioners, care providers and other key stakeholder groups.
Discussions are planned with local cancer charity representatives on the commissioning of the strategy and the potential development of a taskforce model.
Decisions on the implementation of a new strategy would be for a future Health Minister