At the Assembly’s Health Committee, the UUP member, Roy Beggs MLA, has expressed concern that almost 1 year after an Assembly Debate highlighting delays in diagnosing Ovarian Cancer, Senior Health Officials have only now contacted local GPs highlighting NICE guidance and best practice.
Roy Beggs MLA said, “The charity, Targeting Ovarian Cancer, have advised that a third of women are being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer when there are admitted to A&E when advanced symptoms become apparent. 30% of women suffering from the condition were being incorrectly initially diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. Indeed, some 75% are diagnosed when the cancer has already spread and treatment outcomes are poor”.
One year ago Assembly Members were advised by Target Ovarian Cancer that 42% of GPs in Northern Ireland were unaware of the NICE guidance which had been issued 2 years earlier. In Northern Ireland there are approximately 160 cases of Ovarian Cancer diagnosed each year and 120 deaths.
The Ulster Unionist Health’s Spokesman said, “What has given me particular concern has been the slowness of the local Health Service to adopt best practice as recommended by NICE. On the day when Health Officials were presenting to the Assembly’s Health Committee on Ovarian Cancer, we were advised that a letter had been finally sent, that day to local GPs. Why had it taken so long to highlight to GPs the NICE guidance on diagnosing the fourth most common female cancer?
“I welcome the fact that improved pathways for those who are suspected of suffering from Ovarian Cancer, have finally been indicated to GP’s. It is unacceptable that it has taken so long to bring about improvements and to highlight new tests to those GPs who were apparently unaware of NICE guidance.”