25 November 2020

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

“Today’s announcement includes funding for both the NHS and research and development, but we’re deeply concerned by the lack of clarity as to whether funding will be available for medical research charities; and additionally, the investment for health services still falls short of what we have been calling for and know is needed to give people with breast cancer the best chance of survival.

“Additional investment in the workforce over the next year is a positive step towards tackling the immense challenges facing the NHS due to COVID-19 further exacerbating existing issues, but once again the UK Government has not taken the opportunity to make the long-term investment and take the strategic approach needed to address the enormity of the crisis facing the cancer workforce. While we welcome the investment in diagnostic equipment, we know that without an appropriately resourced and supported diagnostic and imaging workforce alongside this, women could be left waiting longer for a diagnosis and the treatment they need – a frightening prospect when early diagnosis is key to giving treatment the best chance of being successful.

“People living with secondary breast cancer do not have time to wait for long overdue improvements to be made, but yet again their needs have not been met. It’s disappointing that a clear commitment has not yet been made to fund a national audit of secondary breast cancer. Counting how many people are living with the incurable disease is essential to enabling the NHS to deliver urgent improvements to care that could give people the precious chance to live well for longer, and have more time with their loved ones. The lack of commitment to longer-term funding also means we cannot guarantee patients living with this incurable disease the critical support of a Clinical Nurse Specialist. We simply cannot afford any further delays in meeting the needs of secondary breast cancer patients who do not have time on their side.

“Charities play a vital role in medical research and must be supported to ensure this does not stall – as such we continue to work with the AMRC to seek clarity from the Government about how this will be achieved so charities can continue to provide patients with hope for the future through their research.

“We will not stop calling for the strategic and long-term approach to breast cancer that we know will deliver the best care possible, and that we owe to women and men living with this devastating disease.”