Consultation on the Cancer Strategy for Northern Ireland 2021-2031

Consultation opened on 25 August 2021. Closing date 20 October 2021.


The publication of a 10 year Cancer Strategy is identified as an immediate priority of the Northern Ireland Executive in New Decade, New Approach (NDNA).

The advent of the global COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the picture of cancer services in Northern Ireland. The possibilities offered by new and novel technological solutions, as embraced during the pandemic to enhance access and choice and improve outcomes are also a key focus of the draft Strategy.


Consultation description

The Cancer Recovery Plan published in June 2021 by the Health Minister, Robin Swann MLA, not only addresses immediate service improvement requirements but also acts as precursor to the new Strategy and addresses around 70% of the first 3 years of recommendations made in the strategy.  

The draft  strategy has a central vision to ensure that everyone in Northern Ireland, wherever they live, has equitable and timely access to the most effective, evidence-based referral, diagnosis, treatment, support and person centred cancer care.  

The ambition of this strategy is to have a world class service which is based on improving outcomes for everyone diagnosed with cancer. 

The draft Strategy sets out 67 high-level recommendations over 4 themes to take forward significant strategic change over the next decade.  These are:

  1. Preventing Cancer
  2. Diagnosing and Treating Cancer
  3. Supporting People 
  4. Implementing the Strategy

The implementation of the Cancer Strategy will be a significant project and will span 10 years. The implementation will be inclusive and cross sectoral and will draw on existing co-production structures.

The Strategy development commenced in May 2019 but was very significantly impacted by COVID-19. There was extensive input and direction from a wide range of stakeholders during the co-production of the Strategy. This included those with lived experience, carers, community and voluntary organisations, academics, health professionals and their representative bodies, Health and Social Care organisations, politicians and government departments. 

We have sought to consult and engage as broadly as possible during the development of this draft Cancer Strategy.  Social distancing constraints associated with the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the more usual methods of co-production, such as face to face meetings, focus groups and engagement events, were not possible.  During the pandemic, co-production has been taken forward via virtual means. 

This consultation is designed to provide a wide range of stakeholder to provide feedback on the work that has been carried out on the strategy and recommendations to date and; contribute to the further development of the strategy. Consultation responses will form the basis of a new policy for delivery of Cancer Services in Northern Ireland.

The consultation will run from 25 August 2021 to  20 October 2021, the EQIA will be consulted on for an additional four weeks until 17 November 2021. 

Consultation engagement events 

You are invited to register for one of the upcoming consultation engagements events being held to support direct engagement with citizens as part of the ongoing public consultation on the 10 year Cancer Strategy for Northern Ireland.

The events will take place online via zoom, the dates and times are:

Tuesday 5 October 2021 - 2-3.30pm

Thursday 7 October 2021 - 11am - 12.30pm

Tuesday 12 October 2021 - 7 - 8.30pm

Register for Consultation engagement events on Eventbrite

Ways to respond 

There will be a number of ways to help people to respond to the consultation.

Please note that respondents do not have to address every question within the consultation, and can instead focus on the questions or issues that are of particular interest. 

Stakeholders can respond to the consultation exercise using one of the following options:

  • Via the online survey hosted on Citizen Space (which can be accessed using the link below);  EQIA / Consultation on the Cancer Strategy for Northern Ireland 2021-2031 - NI Direct - Citizen Space
  • By completing the Consultation Questionnaire, which is available in the documents sections below.  The Questionnaire can be adapted and completed depending on which questions you wish to respond to, and submitted via email or in hard copy using the contact details listed below;
  • By sending an email, or writing to the address listed below, with a summary of your feedback to the consultation.

In addition, as part of the consultation we will be running a series of virtual online events. Further details will be provided here when these are confirmed.  To pre register please email using the email address below.  




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