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24 children wait year for first cancer appointment in Northern Ireland

Twenty-four children in Northern Ireland with confirmed or suspected cancers had to wait over a year for a first appointment, a review has found.

The figure, for April, is in a review of child health waiting lists by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People.

More than 17,000 children were waiting more than a year to see a hospital consultant for the first time.

The commissioner said the waiting times were "terrifying".

The review examined official waiting list data for children's health services not published as part of the Department of Health's statistical bulletins.

Koulla Yiasouma said that waiting for any health service treatment can and does have a "profound impact on a child's health outcomes, emotional and mental well-being".

She said it was "shocking not only for the child but their families too".

"Each and every single one of them is a child and each and every single one of them is a child whose life has almost been put on hold, and a family whose life has been put on hold, because they are not getting the most fundamental right of healthcare that they deserve," she said.

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Source: BBC News, 19 October 2021


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