Day of Action for radiotherapy

The proposed site for the new cancer unit at Altnagelvin Hospital. 0104JM11
The proposed site for the new cancer unit at Altnagelvin Hospital. 0104JM11

This photograph shows where the new cancer treatment centre at Altnagelvin Hospital is earmarked to be built - once it’s given the go-ahead by the Stormont Executive following May’s election,

Current plans indicate that the satellite radiotherapy unit will be constructed on a largely greenfield site which, at present, includes various ancillary buildings.

It will provide the additional radiotherapy capacity needed to meet an anticipated increase in cancer across the North. At the moment, all radiotherapy services in Northern Ireland are located in the Cancer Centre in Belfast.

Earlier this week, the First Minister, Peter Robinson, gave a commitment to the new unit at Altnagelvin.

Last week, the Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, said funding was insufficient, and shelved it.

That provoked an angry reaction by campaigners who claimed the decision could put lives at risk.

Mr Robinson said it could be overturned on the basis of a cross-community vote.

He said that, under the ministerial code, the Executive, not the Minister, has the final say.

“We are going to proceed with the Altnagelvin extension for cancer care and that’s the end of the matter,” he said.

Meanwhile, A Day of Action demanding cancer services at Altnagelvin is to go ahead in Derry on April 15. The event is being organised by the Pink Ladies Breast Cancer Support Group.

Spokesperson Karen Mullan says: “We are calling on the people of Derry and the wider North West region to join us at Guildhall Square (1.05 p.m.) and for those who can’t attend the Guildhall to show their support by stopping whatever it is they are doing for one minute at this time.

“We are calling upon employers, shopping centres, factories, local radio stations, newspapers, taxi drivers, schools and colleges and everyone in the city and region to register their protest in this way,” said Ms. Mullan. For more information or to help out with the Campaign contact Karen or Michelle on 71365330 or email karen@bbhealthforum.org