'Urgent action needed to clear the cancer backlog' - MP calls for more investment in cancer services
A Sunderland MP is calling on the Government to prevent a covid cancer crisis by investing in cancer services.
Easington MP Grahame Morris has signed a cross-party letter to the Prime Minister and Chancellor calling on the Government to provide a funding "super-boost" to cancer services in the spring Budget.
The letter has been signed by 75 Parliamentarians highlighting the urgent need to clear the covid-induced cancer backlog and prevent tens of thousands of additional lives being lost.
It also calls for a new high-tech cancer recovery plan driven by innovative capacity building solutions – like advanced radiotherapy – and delivered with the same level of political will as the overall covid response.
The letter, backed by the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign, raises concerns that the existing Cancer Recovery Plan is out of date and the Cancer Recovery Taskforce does not have the power to secure the required investment in additional treatment and diagnostic capacity needed to tackle the backlog properly.
Grahame Morris MP, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Radiotherapy, said: "The Government cannot allow the covid crisis to become a cancer crisis.
"We need urgent action to clear the cancer backlog and save lives.
"The UK has experienced one of the worst covid death tolls in the world.
"We should not compound the loss and suffering by also leading the world in covid cancer deaths.
“UK cancer services and treatment have lagged Europe for too long.
"There has never been a more important time to give the NHS the investment required to create a truly world-class cancer service to improve patient outcomes."
Leading oncologist and founder of the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign Professor Pat Price said: "We are going to be looking back in years to come at covid caused cancer nightmare that led to as many cancer patients being lost unnecessarily as we lose to coronavirus itself.
“However, it doesn't have to be this way. We can save both covid and cancer patients.
"But that needs a change in approach, proper accountability and hard cash at the budget for cancer services.
"The Government should be lifting heaven and earth, just like the frontline clinicians already are, so that we have the tools, a comprehensive plan and a minister responsible for addressing this crisis and quickly.”