Rosie Cooper MP has signed a letter to the Prime Minister calling for a more urgent response to tackle the COVID induced cancer backlog including a radical new cancer plan overseen by a dedicated Minister and direct investment in cancer services and the necessary lifesaving technologies.  

Over 70 people have signed the letter, including Parliamentarians and leaders in the cancer community, asking the Prime Minister to acknowledge the scale and urgency of the cancer crisis and act fast, or risk tens of thousands of unnecessary lives being lost. Parliamentarians representing all political parties, including chairs of All-Party Parliamentary Groups, former cabinet ministers and a former cancer minister, have put their name to the letter and backed the calls for urgent action. 

COVID has caused widespread disruption of the entire cancer pathway and recent figures show this has resulted in 40,000 ‘missing’ and undiagnosed cancer patients. Research suggests that for every four weeks delay in cancer treatment, survival drops on average by 10% and frontline clinicians are already reporting that more and more patients are now presenting with late-stage cancers which have passed the point of being cured. 

The letter highlights the urgency of the crisis, describing it as “the most serious crisis in cancer in a generation” and calls on the Government to implement the 7 recommendations of the recently published “Catch Up With Cancer: the Way Forward” report led by Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy and the All-Party Parliamentary Health Group.  

These recommendations, which have come directly from leading names in the cancer community, include acknowledgment of the scale of the cancer backlog, a new national plan led by a dedicated Minister and investment in cancer services particularly the workforce, cancer diagnostic machines and cancer treatment equipment such as radiotherapy.  

West Lancashire MP and Health Select Committee Member Rosie said: 
“It is vital that the Government take immediate action to tackle the backlog head on. The Health Service have been struggling to treat the huge numbers of Covid patients, but this should not have been at the expense of people with cancer who required lifesaving treatment themselves. 

“Across the NHS, care providers will now be under tremendous pressure to work through this cancer backlog, further Government support is not just needed, it is essential to prevent any more avoidable deaths.” 

Leading oncologist and co-founder of the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign which supported the report and the letter to the Prime Minister, Professor Pat Price said:  

“The COVID induced cancer backlog is the worst crisis in cancer care I have seen in my entire career and the cancer community is desperate for the Government to intervene. The Prime Minister has said he wants to ‘bust the backlog’ but we have been calling for action for over a year and yet our calls have gone unanswered. It is encouraging to see solidarity amongst the Parliamentarians and the cancer community who signed this letter who all agree this cancer crisis should be treated as a national priority.”

Letter from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy to the Prime Minister
Letter from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy to the Prime Minister
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