The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer (APPGC) has today launched a new report into progress half-way through the England Cancer Strategy (2015-2020), at its annual ‘Britain Against Cancer’ conference in Westminster.
The report, Progress of the England Cancer Strategy: Delivering outcomes by 2020?, gathered significant evidence from front-line service across the NHS and sector, concluding that the Cancer Strategy risks failure unless NHS England takes corrective action immediately, and outlining a number of key recommendations to ensure its delivery.
The report’s publication also coincides with the launch of Health Education England’s Cancer Workforce Plan, also published today, which lays out plans to address the acute shortages in the cancer workforce.
Fiona Hazell, Director of Policy and Engagement at Breast Cancer Now, said:
It’s extremely concerning that, as we approach halfway in the Cancer Strategy, the building blocks needed for its delivery in England are still being established.
We’ve been encouraged to hear of the early successes for local cancer services being led by Cancer Alliances, particularly given funding pressures. But this worrying front-line report highlights growing areas for concern that continue to hinder progress on cancer, including workforce shortages, funding delays and a lack of accountability and data collection – sentiments echoed in our recent report ‘Good Enough? Breast cancer in the UK’.
These delays in progress are directly affecting patient care, with a diagnostic workforce already at crisis capacity also likely to impact screening, early diagnosis and, ultimately, patient outcomes. The long-anticipated Cancer Workforce Plan is very welcome, but will now require immediate funding and commitment to deliver its ambitions across seven urgent areas, including diagnostic radiography and radiology.
While we have seen significant advances in recent decades, we believe that progress on breast cancer is now stalling. We urge for the APPG on Cancer’s recommendations to be implemented as soon as possible to ensure the delivery of the Cancer Strategy by 2020, which could have a truly transformational impact for NHS cancer patients.”