Cancer Care and Services

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding cancer care and services.

I share your concern about the growing pressures we are seeing on cancer services and I believe the next Government need to do far more to ensure we are diagnosing cancer earlier, treating it more effectively and preventing it in the first place.

In the last year 20,000 patients waited longer than two months to start urgent cancer treatment and the two month cancer treatment target has now been missed for a whole year. The Government’s decision to restrict funding for extra investment in cancer drugs has also led to thousands of patients missing out on cutting-edge radiotherapy and surgery – the two forms of treatment that are responsible for nine in ten cases where cancer is cured.

A Labour Government, however, will set a goal to match the best in Europe for cancer survival, which would save 10,000 lives a year. Labour will guarantee a maximum one week wait for cancer tests and results by 2020, helping people get treatment more quickly and reducing stress and anxiety. Early diagnosis of cancer is critical so we will raise public awareness of symptoms, improve GP access and make sure there is training and support for GPs in spotting early signs.

We will also create a new Cancer Treatment Fund so patients have access to the latest drugs, surgery and radiotherapy.

I am also very concerned that the strain we are currently seeing on cancer services is being mirrored in many other parts of the NHS. Waiting lists for treatment are now at their highest level for six years, people are finding it harder to get a GP appointment, and the number of people waiting in A&E for more than four hours has trebled since 2009/10.

That is why we need a Labour Government to ensure our NHS and cancer services get the support and investment they need.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views on this extremely important issue.