Thank you to everyone who has contacted me regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on cancer services.
As you may be aware, at the Spending Review on 25th November the Chancellor announced £1 billion to tackle backlogs in the NHS. However, I am concerned that this falls short of the funding that health experts, including the British Medical Association, have called for.
With record numbers of patients waiting for diagnostic tests, I believe we need an urgent and fully resourced plan to tackle this backlog and enable our health service to move between the competing demands of the COVID-19 pandemic and non-COVID-19-related care.
The Chancellor has promised to give the NHS “whatever it needs” to cope during the pandemic. He must make good on his promise and ensure that our health service is fully resourced to provide effective, timely diagnosis and referral and make sure that all cancer patients receive the care and treatment they need.
In your emails, you also highlighted the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy, which sets out a six point plan to transform and improve access to radiotherapy services. Radiotherapy need is expected to rise by a quarter by 2025, yet service provision across the country is variable. My Labour colleagues and I believe the Government must do more to ensure that all those who need it are able to access not only radiotherapy but the best, high-quality radiotherapy available for their specific cancer.