SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has asked the UK government to ensure that they share best practice for cancer awareness and diagnosis with practitioners in Northern Ireland.
Speaking following Health questions in the House of Commons, Ms Ritchie said: “Raising awareness, the analysis of biopsies and early diagnoses are critical in reducing cancer rates and improving treatment. Almost every family will at some point be touched by the tragedy of a cancer diagnosis and everything should be done to improve the chances of successful treatment. Improving public awareness, and the associated higher incidence of early diagnosis, are integral elements in meeting this challenge.
“I was glad to hear the positive attitude adopted by the UK Health Minister to working with the local Department of Health to ensure that there is information sharing and cooperation between Westminster and the devolved administrations when it comes to developing best practice.
“I would hope that the local Health Minister will be proactive in developing a cancer strategy that is co-ordinated with efforts in the UK and Ireland.”
Ms Ritchie asked Health Minister Anna Soubry what discussions have taken place with health ministerial colleagues in devolved administrations regarding the need to share of information. The MInister replied: “We’re always open to discuss anything that can improve the outcomes for anybody who is suffering from cancer and certainly we are alert to all new research and as I say if that involves talking to devolved administrations then my officials do that in order to improve outcomes for all people.”