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Teenagers (Health Services)

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans there are for a teenage cancer unit in Northern Ireland. [109217]

In January 2003 the Department agreed that the Royal Group of Hospitals Trust should prepare an Outline Business Case for the development of services at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. The Trust is currently preparing the Outline Business Case, which includes a proposal for the establishment of a dedicated multi-disciplinary adolescent unit containing provision for teenagers with cancer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many teenagers with cancer in Belfast South were treated on wards for children or old people in each of the last three years. [109218]

The following table shows the number of teenagers from the Belfast South parliamentary constituency who were admitted to hospitals in Northern Ireland when the primary diagnosis was cancer.

Number of admissions


Hospital in-patients system

Information about the type of wards in which patients are treated is not readily available in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps primary care trusts in South Belfast are taking to tackle late and mis-diagnosis of teenagers with cancer. [109219]

Most young people with suspected cancer are usually seen by a specialist within 24 hours of referral by their GP. Cancers in teenagers are very rare and are mostly haematological malignancies. The Department's Regional Advisory Committee on Cancer is currently developing regional guidance on haematological malignancies, including paediatric malignancies, which will be issued to all relevant clinicians, including doctors in primary care.The Department and the Eastern Health and Social Services Board are not considering any further specific action at this time in relation to late diagnosis or misdiagnosis of teenagers with cancer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for what reasons the Government does not recognise teenagers as a separate category for delivery of health services. [109220]

The Government do recognise that in many areas of health care adolescents have particular needs. Work is being taken forward in areas such as cancer, mental health, learning disability, drug and alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancy to address, where possible, the particular needs of teenagers.