Department announces way forward on a new cancer strategy

Date published: 07 March 2019


The Department of Health is to commission a new cancer strategy for Northern Ireland.

new cancer strategy for Northern Ireland image

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 identify 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.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Department made clear to the House of Commons NI Affairs Committee that it was assessing the position regarding a new regional cancer strategy, in light of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018. Today’s announcement represents the outcome of that assessment.
  1. Media enquiries to DoH Press Office on 02890 520571 or Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 02890 378110. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt.

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