Sinn Féin - On Your Side

New funding must not result in another postcode lottery

12 April, 2006

Sinn Féin health spokesperson, John O'Dowd MLA, has said that today's announcement by direct-rule minister, Shaun Woodward, that an extra £6 million pounds will be released to meet the increasing demand for cancer and other specialist drug treatments is welcome news, provided it is indeed new funding.

Mr O'Dowd said, "Provided the extra £6 million pounds to be made available for specialist life-improving drugs is indeed new additional funding, then I would welcome this announcement. There is of course the danger that this funding may be as a result of the re-jigging of budgets with the result that other areas of healthcare and need may be losing out. However, I would hope that this is not the case.

"Money allocated on providing specialist drugs for cancer and other life-limiting illnesses is an investment which has the ability to improve the quality of life for many people across the Six Counties.

"It is important that the four Health Boards ring-fence this funding for its intended pupose, as I note from the minister's statement that it is for the Boards to decide how this money will be spent. While I recognise the competing demands and pressures which Health Boards are under, it would be extremely unfair on patients if yet another postcode lottery is permitted to arise where certain treatments are available in one Board area but not in another." ENDS

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