34 Charities Launch NI’s first Cancer Coalition

A momentous occasion took place yesterday at Stormont as 34 cancer charities working across all Health Trusts came together to form the first Northern Ireland Cancer Charities Coalition. Formally partnering to establish a local sector voice, the aim of the membership organisation is to strengthen advocacy on cancer issues and facilitate more streamlined and unified engagement with governing officials.

Speaking at the launch Health Minister Mike Nesbitt said: “I am delighted to attend the launch of the Cancer Charities Coalition today. I recognise the opportunities that working collectively can bring in the fight against cancer. Working together with all of our stakeholders, we can overcome many current challenges and deliver the best possible outcomes for those who live with cancer. The Cancer Charities Coalition can help with this.

“The Coalition will provide structures for cancer charities to engage with the broader sector and I am confident that through our collective endeavours and continued dedication, we can help combat cancer and improve the lives of those impacted by it”.

Speaking about this new era of collaborative working, Richard Spratt, Chief Executive of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and Interim Chair of the NI Cancer Charities Coalition, commented:

“Earlier this year, I along with colleagues from five of the larger cancer charities in Northern Ireland invited organisations from across the country to learn more about our ambitious plans to work as a unified Coalition. The idea came from the belief that we could give more voice to cancer patients by speaking together as a sector. Among other benefits such as shared knowledge, the Coalition will facilitate our work with governmental bodies and enable greater cross-charity collaboration on important issues such as the urgent funding of the Cancer Strategy and the disgraceful Waiting Times.”

Spratt further explained why the time is right for the development of a cancer charities coalition that is independent from government:

“In March 2022, the NI Department of Health launched their Cancer Strategy, which represents significant opportunities to improve cancer care in NI. Despite progress, for example with the Rapid Diagnosis Centres to help patients with vague symptoms, the funding position has remained extremely challenging across NI. This has inevitably impacted the implementation of the Strategy. And all the while, cancer incidence has been growing and the waiting times worsening. The idea for a Coalition took hold in yet another period without a government in Stormont, at which point we realised that the time was right for a stronger and louder singular voice for people and families impacted by cancer.”

The Coalition officially launched this afternoon with a reception at Stormont. It is inspired by counterparts in the other devolved nations and aims to improve services and outcomes for cancer patients in Northern Ireland.


The members of the Coalition’s Interim Executive are: Cancer Focus Northern Ireland (Interim Chair), Cancer Research UK (Interim Vice Chair), Macmillan Cancer Support (Interim Secretary), Action Cancer (Interim Treasurer), Cancer Fund for Children, and Friends of the Cancer Centre. The remaining 28 members of the Coalition are: Anthony Nolan, Blood Cancer UK, Bowel Cancer UK, Brain Tumour Research, Breast Cancer Now, Cancer Lifeline, Care for Cancer, Charis Cancer Care, Children’s Cancer Unit Charity, Hive Cancer Support, Hospice UK, Kidney Cancer UK, Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI, Leukaemia Care, Leukaemia UK, Lymphoma Action, METUPUK, Myeloma UK, NIPANC, OGCancerNI, Pancreatic Cancer UK, Prostate Cancer UK, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, SWELL, Target Ovarian Cancer, Teenage Cancer Trust, The Brain Tumour Charity, and Young Lives Vs. Cancer.

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