51 charities, including brainstrust, come together with One Cancer Voice to urge the government to deliver on promises to improve outcomes for cancer patients.
Read the full letter sent to the Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
Before COVID-19, cancer services were under considerable strain. In England, we have been routinely failing to meet the 62-day Cancer Waiting Time target for patients to begin treatment following an urgent GP cancer referral – this has not been met since December 2015. Not only has the target been missed, but it has been in continual decline since 2017, showing a service under increasing pressure. And with almost 1 in 10 NHS posts vacant before the pandemic, too few cancer specialists in the NHS and insufficient kit meant we have been failing to meet patient need. The lack of adequate support is putting a strain on other parts of the NHS, with evidence of more patients experiencing a serious medical problem and needing to attend A&E. Tragically, the pandemic has only put further pressure on cancer services, and on patients and the lives of family’s dependent on those services.
This poses an enormous challenge. As a group of 51 cancer charities, we are speaking with One Cancer Voice to ask the Government to urgently respond to this challenge and improve outcomes for patients in the forthcoming Spending Review by: growing the cancer workforce and investing in kit to meet patient need and drive innovation to provide better care; levelling-up on cancer to address socioeconomic factors which mean poorer communities are disproportionately affected by cancer, and; strengthening investment in cancer research and development. This investment is vital to deliver the ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan and meet the needs of cancer patients today and in the future so that every patient can have a good quality of life and the best chance of survival.
Priorities in brain cancer care
Of the four main actions identified by the One Cancer Voice charities, the following are of utmost importance for people with a brain tumour.
1. Address gaps in the cancer workforce and kit to improve diagnosis, treatment and care.
A fully-funded workforce, including clinical nurse specialists – vital members of your brain tumour team – is fundamental to ensure that people with a brain tumour have the best possible care. In the letter we have called on the government to:
- Deliver on their manifesto pledge to plan for the cancer workforce by providing a multi-year
settlement to train and employ more cancer staff to fill current vacancies and ensure that the workforce has the capacity to meet increasing demand, innovate and drive lifesaving research. Around £200m additional investment in Health Education England is needed over the 3 years to grow the key cancer professions by 45% by 2029.
- Create a Cancer Nurse Fund of £124 million to train the next generation of Cancer Nurse Specialists, helping to deliver on the NHS Long-Term Plan promise for every patient to get a named cancer nurse.
2. Age-appropriate cancer care
Children, teenagers, adults and the elderly all have very different needs and it is vital that care is tailored. For parents in need of support in coping with a child’s diagnosis, please reach out to little brainstrust – our dedicated arm for children and families.
- Cancer care and follow up must be age appropriate and tailored according to unique needs – from children and young people to older people.
Help ensure the government takes action to improve cancer treatment by signing this petition.