Letter to PM asking for radical new cancer plan.

More than 50 MPs call on Prime Minister to introduce “radical new cancer plan” to halt current cancer crisis

Cancer campaigners have today handed a letter signed by more than 50 parliamentarians to Downing Street urging the Prime Minister to deliver a “radical new cancer plan” to address the cancer backlog and address record waiting times that are translating into cancer inequality across the country. The letter comes as the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee’s latest report warns the Department of Health and Social Care have “overseen years of decline in the NHS’s cancer care”.

To view the letter go here.

Organised by the #CatchUpWithCancer Campaign, the letter highlights the devastating impact of the COVID pandemic on cancer care and warns of “tens of thousands of unnecessarily lost lives without action”. Campaigners are calling for urgent action, a radical new approach, and new investment to boost treatment capacity to clear the backlog that cancer experts have warned could be as high as 100,000 patients.

Campaigners, MPs, and a leading oncologist from the #CatchUpWithCancer Campaign have also written to the Health Secretary urging him to meet with them to ensure vital frontline radiotherapy services have the tools and capacity to clear the backlog. They argue that investment is needed to correct years of underfunding of radiotherapy services to unlock much needed treatment capacity, tackle the mounting backlog, and improve cancer care in line with Government ambitions.

Professor Pat Price, leading oncologist, co-founder of the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign and Chair of Radiotherapy UK said –

“There is an undeniable crisis in cancer care at the moment and it is a nightmare for patients and staff alike. This situation has been allowed to escalate and it will keep on doing so unless we see radical action. We need the Government to outline how investment will boost frontline cancer services. Particularly high tech solutions like radiotherapy which are so often overlooked. Otherwise, any new cancer plan won’t be worth the paper it is written on and patients will die needlessly. We’ve held cancer summits, written letters and reports, now we urgently need the Prime Minister to intervene and defuse this cancer backlog timebomb before it is too late”.

Tim Farron MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy –

“The cancer backlog is still not solved and if things continue as they are, we are looking at a second health disaster. The Government has said they will deliver a new cancer plan and a war on cancer, but words alone are not enough to tackle this backlog. Frontline cancer services, like radiotherapy, should be deployed at the heart of efforts to tackle the cancer backlog. But they’ve had no additional funding and the workforce is on its knees. Frontline professionals are telling us that they know what needs to be done, but their ideas are not being heard by the Government.”

Craig Russell, co-founder of the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign –

We started the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign following the devastating loss of our daughter Kelly who’s cancer treatment was stopped during the first lockdown. We wanted the Government to act so other families didn’t have to go through what we have been through. It is hugely disappointing that this crisis is rumbling on and not enough it being done to tackle it. This will be hugely distressing for the cancer patients and their families and needs to be addressed urgently. The Government must act to prevent further unnecessary deaths.”

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