Councillor issues cancer funding challenge to Minister

Lisburn Councillor Robbie Butler has challenged the Health Minister to match “pound for pound” any cash raised by the community in the Lagan Valley constituency for cancer services.

He threw down the gauntlet on cancer cash to the Minister in a hard-hitting statement following the announcement that doctors in Britain have hailed a ‘spectacular’ breakthrough in cancer treatment after a pair of drugs were found to shrink tumours in nearly 60% of people.

Councillor Butler also warned that the community was “‘apidly losing confidence in the health service’s ability to deliver under the present Minister’s watch’.

“As regards finance, the community is prepared to play its part,” said Mr Butler. “A team effort will be required to overcome financial problems. When the Health Department says that it does not have funds, we must consider other ways of raising money.

“I challenge the Minister and the Department publicly - if the community was to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds, would they be prepared to match the amount pound for pound?

“In that way, the entire community would become involved, and people would be interested in what they were doing and they could see that something was being done.

“The Ulster Unionist Party’s slogan with regard to the delivery of health services is ‘Putting Patients First’. If the Department and the Health Service were to take that on board, a service could be delivered in which the whole community could have confidence.

“The Health Minister and the Department must provide a service that will not only relieve the pain of sufferers, but also help their families. My message to the Health Minister and the Department is simple - let us move forward, and take our people with us, so that we can provide them with a Health Service in our constituency in which they can have confidence.”