Durkan calls on Health Minister to provide clarity on Derry radiotherapy unit money

Mark H. Durkan, MLA.
Mark H. Durkan, MLA.

SDLP MLA for Foyle Mark H Durkan has called on new Health Minister Jim Wells to clarify immediately that there will be no delay in the delivery of the radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin.

Mr. Durkan, who is also Environment Minister, demanded that Mr. Wells “put peoples’ mind at ease’ and said the radiotherapy unit should be allowed to proceed without delay.

“We have heard from Minister Wells, as we had from his predecessor [Edwin Poots, MLA], that a failure of the Executive to allocate additional funding to the Health Department would result in a delay in the construction and operation of the long awaited and much needed radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin,” said Mr. Durkan.

“This has caused fresh concern and anxiety across the North West after our long and tumultuous battle to secure the unit which will make treatment more accessible and less onerous for people already dealing with the trauma of cancer.”

Earlier this month the Department for Health received £60m during the October monitoring round. Mr. Durkan said it was time for Mr. Wells to tell the people what his plans are for the money.

“Given that his department received £60m pounds in the October monitoring round, I am calling on Jim Wells to put peoples’ minds at ease and to clarify without delay his intentions. Given his championing of cancer services during his years on the Health Committee, I am hopeful of a positive outcome. People want and deserve certainty, Minister Wells can provide it and he must do so immediately,” he said.