Cancer Focus NI welcomes the appointment of NI Health Minister Robin Swann MLA

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland welcomes the appointment of Robin Swann MLA as Health Minister in the newly formed Northern Ireland Executive. Minister Swann, a UUP MLA for North Antrim, returns to this post after serving as Health Minister in the previous Executive from 2020-2022.

“We established a positive working relationship with Robin in his prior capacity as Health Minister, and we are glad to have a Minister who will be in an informed position from day one,” commented Richard Spratt, Chief Executive of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

“Minister Swann will be well aware of the pressures facing cancer services and the unacceptable waiting times experienced by patients here. Cancer patients and their families, as well as those delivering treatment and care, must see visible signs that the Minister is giving cancer services an immediate focus.

“Together with other parts of the health service, the highly valued, specialist staff working at the heart of our cancer services will be looking to the Minister for a quick resolution to ongoing issues, including those around pay and conditions. The Minister will be under pressure to deliver real-time steps forward in these first days and weeks of his new office.”

Richard continued: “We were pleased that Minister Swann in his previous tenure launched the 10-Year Cancer Strategy for NI. Now, we look forward to seeing that strategy adequately resourced and delivered. This is at the top of the list. A fully-funded Cancer Strategy is critical to not only improving diagnoses, treatments, and patient support, but also to growing prevention and screening programmes. In the long-term, this focus has the potential to save lives and reduce cancer costs.

Richard Spratt (centre left) and Minister Swann (right) visiting the mole mapping initiative to improve skin cancer detection

“Along with investments in the cancer workforce, we hope Minister Swann will see the importance of the Cancer Strategy and of addressing the delays to diagnosis and treatment across our health system.

“We look forward to seeing the Minister and the new Executive giving cancer services the focus they need without a moment more of delay. Time is not a luxury any cancer patient can afford.”

Richard concluded: “Minister Swann attended our Cancer Focus NI Strategy launch in 2023 and he will understand where our vision fits within the wider Northern Ireland Cancer Strategy.

“We will continue to work with Minister Swann and his team to act as a local cancer voice, on behalf of those affected by cancer throughout Northern Ireland. We hope he will work together with us as we all drive to reduce the risks and impact of cancer in Northern Ireland.”