March 2019 – Cancer Research and World Cancer Day

March 2019 – Cancer Research and World Cancer Day

Thank you to those who have contacted me about Cancer Research and World Cancer Day.

Cancer is a priority for the Government and survival rates are at a record high. Since 2010 rates of survival from cancer have increased year-on-year. Around 7,000 people are alive today who would not have been had mortality rates stayed the same as then.

In October 2018 the Prime Minister announced measures that will be rolled out across the country with the aim of seeing three quarters of all cancers detected at an early stage by 2028 (currently just over half). The plan will overhaul screening programmes, provide new investment in state of the art technology to transform the process of diagnosis, and boost research and innovation. This is part of the NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, and forms part of how the Government will achieve its ambition to see 55,000 more people surviving cancer for five years in England each year from 2028.

The 2015 Cancer Strategy for England, prepared by the independent Cancer Taskforce, set out a vision of what cancer patients should expect from the health service: effective prevention; prompt and effective diagnosis; informed choice and convenient care; access to the best effective treatments with minimal side-effects; always knowing what is going on and why; holistic support; and the best possible quality of life, including at the end of life.

NHS England has confirmed funding of over £600 million to support delivery of the Cancer Strategy for England. £200 million of this funding was used in 2017 and 2018 on a transformation fund for Cancer Alliances to encourage local areas to find new and innovative ways to diagnose cancer earlier, improve the care for those living with cancer and ensure each cancer patient gets the right care for them.

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the drop in on Wednesday 6th February. However, I know that many of my colleagues are planning to attend, and I look forward to hearing from them about the latest work from Cancer Research UK.

The Long Term Plan will also provide funding for a larger, better supported workforce, delivering improved training opportunities, better support and career progression, stronger leadership at all levels, and a clamp down on bullying and violence to improve retention. To deliver on these commitments the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has asked Baroness Dido Harding to chair a rapid programme to engage with staff, employers and stakeholders to build a workforce implementation plan that puts NHS people at the heart of NHS policy and delivery. Her final recommendations will come later this year as part of the broader Implementation Plan that will be developed at all levels to make the Long Term Plan a reality.

I hope you join me in welcoming the announcement of an additional £20 billion investment in the NHS by 2023/24. This will significantly support its efforts to improve cancer services.