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Breast Cancer Now flags concerns over findings of final PAC Report

Responding, Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“Today’s report highlights the immense challenges that breast cancer services are facing and the urgent need for the government to publish a fully funded, long-term workforce plan that enables our hard-working NHS staff to provide the best standard of care for breast cancer patients. 

“In 2022, only 70% of breast cancer patients in England started treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral. While the pandemic increased pressure on diagnostic services, years of underinvestment and an absence of long-term planning has also driven this decline in performance.

“We’re also deeply concerned that the key ambition to address the shortfall in people being diagnosed with cancer as a result of pandemic disruption has been abandoned. Estimating that 6,736 women were living with undiagnosed breast cancer in December 2022 largely due to the impacts of COVID on breast screening, we know how urgently this shortfall must be addressed; and yet record low levels of women taking up their screening invites continues to exacerbate this issue.

“In turn, the decline in screening uptake may lead to more women being diagnosed following a GP referral, placing greater pressure on already overburdened GPs. And worryingly, this may risk women being diagnosed at a later stage when treatment is less likely to be successful.”

“Breast Cancer Now calls on the government to urgently act to ensure all these issues are tackled so that breast cancer patients receive the treatment and care they deserve; this can only happen once the government has developed a concrete plan that tackles the underlying issues around breast screening and uptake so that the breast screening programme is fit for the future.”


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