Cancer centre decision ‘great news’ - MLAs

East Derry MLAs have welcomed the announcement by health minister, Edwin Poots that the radiotherapy centre at Altnagelvin will go ahead. Sinn Fein MLA, Cathal O’hOisin said the news has brought great relief.

Speaking after the announcement by health minister, Edwin Poots yesterday at Stormont, the assemblyman said: “It’s great news, just brilliant. It has brought absolute relief all round given the uncertainty after the previous announcement from the previous minister,” he said.

Mr. O’hOisin said the news was good for everyone right across ther North West for all the agencies who campaigned for the centre to go ahead including the Pink Ladies who he said “campaigned tirelessly” for the facility.

MLA o’hOisin said the other good news is that work will start immediately, regarding planning and design and it should be up and running by 2016 and would greatly benefit not just people from Derry and Donegal but also Tyrone and Fermanagh.”

East Derry SDLP MLA, JOhn Dallat said: “It’s good news and it will help to strengthen the partnership between the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine and Altnagelvin, which is of great importance to the future of health services in the North West.

“It is brilliant news for people and not just people in Derry, but in other counties too.”

Mr Poots said personal stories of patients had helped him make up his mind.

“Following my consideration of the issues, I have decided that delivery of this is a high priority,” he said.

“Cancer is not something we can be complacent about.

“Everyone in this chamber will know someone, either a family member, a friend or indeed themselves, who has been affected by cancer.”

The centre was put on hold in March after the previous health minister, Michael McGimpsey, said there was not enough money in his budget to run it.