Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Department for Health and Social Care

39 Victoria Street




Dear Minister,

Re: Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS)

We are writing to you as a group of cross-party parliamentarians to ask you to raise the ambition on breast cancer diagnosis in England and set out a clear timetable for raising the Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS) to a more ambitious 95% level, as originally proposed in 2015, before the two-week wait is removed from legislation.

We can all agree on the importance of early diagnosis and the need to do everything we can to diagnose breast cancer fast. For the tens of thousands of patients diagnosed with breast cancer every year, it means their treatment can begin as soon as possible. For the majority of the almost 700,000 people referred every year who won't have breast cancer, it means they can have their minds put at rest more quickly.

Which is why we welcome the intention behind the FDS and its focus on ensuring patients with potential symptoms of breast cancer have a timely diagnosis.

However, we have concerns that if the FDS target stays at 75% this will not be the case. Right now, it’s possible for not a single breast cancer diagnosis to be made within 28 days for the FDS 75% target to be met. Patients need us to aim higher.

We also know that, despite the incredibly hard work of NHS staff, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the system, with people experiencing longer waiting times to see a breast cancer specialist and to start their breast cancer treatment. Now, more than ever, we need the ambition to match the challenge.

We all have high aspirations for breast cancer diagnosis and want to set a reliable gold standard for the care patients deserve. Let’s make sure the FDS reflects our joint ambition and can be a symbol of recovery. Let’s work together to deliver a faster breast cancer diagnosis standard.

We are asking you to set out a clear timetable for raising the FDS to a more ambitious 95% level, as originally proposed in 2015, before the two-week wait is removed from legislation.

Yours sincerely,

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP (LAB) 

Dame Caroline Dinenage MP (CON) 

Dr Caroline Lucas MP (Green) 

Cat Smith MP (LAB)  

Clive Betts MP (LAB) 

Craig Whittaker MP (CON) 

Daisy Cooper MP (LIB) 

Dan Carden MP (LAB) 

Derek Thomas MP (CON) 

Derek Twigg MP (LAB) 

Dame Diana Johnson MP (LAB) 

Rt Hon Sir George Howarth MP (LAB) 

Graham Stringer MP (LAB) 

Grahame Morris MP (LAB) 

Greg Smith MP (CON) 

Helen Morgan MP (LIB) 

Ian Byrne MP (LAB) 

Jacob Young MP (CON)  

Rt Hon Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP (DUP) 

The Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP 

Jim Shannon MP (DUP) 

Kate Green OBE MP (LAB) 

Kate Osborne MP (LAB) 

Michael Fabricant MP (CON) 

Mick Whitley MP (LAB)  

Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP (CON) 

Mohammad Yasin MP (LAB) 

Munira Wilson MP (LIB) 

Paul Howell MP (CON) 

Peter Dowd MP (LAB) 

Dr Philippa Whitford MP (SNP) 

Richard Burgon MP (LAB) 

Rt Hon Sir Roger Gale MP (CON) 

Sarah Olney MP (LIB) 

Selaine Saxby MP (CON) 

Simon Fell MP (CON) 

Siobhain McDonagh MP (LAB) 

Steve Baker MP (CON) 

Steve Brine MP (CON) 

Tim Farron MP (LIB)  

Tony Lloyd MP (LAB) 

Virendra Sharma MP (LAB) 

Wera Hobhouse MP (LIB) 

Yasmin Qureshi MP (LAB) 

Baroness Harris of Richmond DL (LIB) 

Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE (CON) 

Baroness Lister of Burtersett (LAB) 

Baroness Scott of Needham Market (LIB) 

Lord Clement-Jones CBE (LIB) 

Rt Hon Lord McNally (LIB) 

Lord Meghnad Desai (LAB)