Since September, we’ve been calling on the UK Government to commit funding for breast cancer in the Spending Review. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, urgent funding was needed to stop progress stalling and hope being reduced for people affected by breast cancer.
Press Play campaign
We called on the Government to commit funding in the Spending Review so we could:
- Press play on recruiting and training more NHS staff - to deal with delays and backlogs and provide care and support to those who need it most.
- Press play on extra funding for medical research charities – to prevent progress in breast cancer research from stalling.
- Press play on a secondary breast cancer audit – to give us the missing insight to ensure the NHS can meet the needs of those living with secondary breast cancer.
On Wednesday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, presented the Spending Review in the House of Commons. The Spending Review outlined how much funding each Government department would be receiving over the next year and provided some detail about how each department would use the money.
In the next few weeks, we’ll be working to try and ensure that part of the money allocated to the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy support the priorities we highlighted.
Recruiting and training more NHS Staff
Positively, the Spending Review included some additional investment in the NHS workforce to help tackle the immense challenges facing the NHS. Investment allocated to the NHS workforce included £260 million for Health Education England (HEE), the body responsible for recruiting and training healthcare staff.
However, long-term funding and a strategic plan is still desperately needed to tackle the existing pressures on the NHS workforce which have been exacerbated by Covid-19.
We will now be seeking to understand how HEE plans to use their budget and how much money will be made available for the NHS cancer workforce. We are particularly keen to find out how this money will be used to achieve the commitment made in the NHS Long Term Plan that everyone, including those with secondary breast cancer, would have access to a Clinical Nurse Specialist by 2021.
We will also be continuing to push for a longer-term workforce plan to ensure the breast cancer workforce has enough resource and support beyond the coming year.
Funding for medical research charities
There was welcome investment in research and development; however, we are concerned by the lack of information over whether funding will be available specifically for medical research charities.
We will be working with the Association of Medical Research Charities to seek clarity from the Government about how this money can be used to support our vital work and protect charity-funded medical research.
A secondary breast cancer audit
Most disappointingly, no clear commitment has been made to fund a national audit of secondary breast cancer - essential to enabling the NHS to deliver urgent improvements to care.
However, we are now supporting the Breast Cancer All-Party Parliamentary Group co-chair, Craig Tracey MP, to follow-up on the offer made by the Cancer Minister to work with him on an audit at the recent breast cancer debate.
We’d like to thank everyone who supported our calls asking the UK Government to commit funding for breast cancer in the Spending Review by emailing their MP. We believe the actions taken by our supporters contributed to the positive steps that were taken in the Spending Review, even if it ultimately fell short of what we were asking for.
We will continue to campaign, with your help, to secure the improvements and investment that breast cancer needs. If we do not get the funding needed for breast cancer this year, we are hopeful that we can achieve our funding aims in next year’s Spending Review.
If you’d like to find out more about our reaction to the Spending Review and what it means for breast cancer, you can read out Chief Executive, Delyth Morgan’s response online.