Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan says the health minister must return to his post immediately to help reduce cancer waiting list times.
Speaking during a debate on cancer waiting times in the Assembly, Mr McMullan said: “Cancer affects people right across our community and there can be few who have not had personal or family experience of it.
“As a cancer patient myself I know from personal experience how devastating it is to be told you have cancer, then to face an agonising wait for treatment.
“It is unacceptable that the health minister was not in the Assembly today to respond about cancer waiting times and worse still he is not at his post to do something about it.
“The health minister needs to return his desk immediately and take action to cut waiting times for cancer patients by addressing the lack of consultants working in the health service, delivering increased recruitment and retention of staff and promoting the work of specialist cancer services.
“The people want the health minister back at his desk working to deliver better cancer treatment services for all in our society,” he concluded.