Health Minister Robin Swann has commented on the latest Cancer waiting time statistics.
The newly published statistics reflect the position at 31 March 2020.
Minister Swann said: “The statistics published today provide a stark reminder of the massive challenges that face the health care system in Northern Ireland.
“And in deeply human terms, they illustrate the vital necessity of a major overhaul of how we provide health care across all disciplines.
“The restructuring of services necessitated to combat Covid-19 means that the waiting lists for the second quarter will in all likelihood be even worse.
“However, the response to this pandemic has also shown how the health service and the magnificent staff who work in it can rise to virtually any challenge.
“Changes which in the past would have taken years have been put in place in weeks.
“This sense of unity and purpose can provide a foundation to take forward the changes envisaged in the Rebuilding Health and Social Care Services (RHSCS) programme which I published earlier this month.
“These plans include ongoing emphasis on high priority cancer services.”
A key work stream under the Rebuilding programme has already commenced to reset cancer services. Steps are being taken to maximise assessment and treatment capacity, both within the HSC and the Independent Sector, taking into account innovative practice embedded during the first Covid-19 wave.