Advances in technology and treatment of cancer mean nothing if the country does not have the staff within the NHS to deliver them.
That was the clear message from Shaun Walsh, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at Cancer Research UK when he met Hastings MP Amber Rudd last week as she gave her backing to an appeal from the charity for more NHS staff to deliver the life-saving cancer tests and treatments people need.
Ms Rudd met campaigners from the charity during the Conservative Party Conference on to hear about the Shoulder to Shoulder Against Cancer campaign. It calls for everyone to stand with the NHS and urge the UK Government to tackle the chronic shortage of staff who diagnose and treat the disease.
Every year, 1,300 people are diagnosed with cancer in the Hastings and Rother area, and as the population grows and ages, that number is only set to rise and that means more staff are urgently needed to keep up with the demand for life-saving tests and treatments. However one in ten NHS diagnostic posts are unfilled.
Speaking after meeting representatives of the charity Ms Rudd said: “After 70 years of fantastic work from the NHS it is vital to ensure it is fit to face the challenges of the decades to come. This is why I am pleased the Government has delivered record levels of investment to the NHS for its 70th birthday, I look forward to seeing what improvements this will bring to Hastings and Rye.
“Many of us have been affected by cancer in some way, and one in two of us will be diagnosed in our lifetimes. We all want a world-class service where people are given every opportunity to survive this devastating disease, for it to be diagnosed early and for patients to receive the best treatment possible. ”
To speed up and improve cancer diagnosis and treatment, investment is needed in key professions, including radiographers and radiologists who carry out and interpret scans such as MRIs, endoscopists who look inside the body by inserting a tiny camera and pathologists who look for abnormal cells, as well as oncologists (cancer specialists), nurses and surgeons.
Mr Walsh said: “Over 170 UK parliamentarians from across the political spectrum are already backing the Shoulder to Shoulder campaign, and we’re grateful to Amber Rudd for her support.
“This is a critical opportunity for cancer care in the UK. By 2035, more than 500,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer every year across the UK, an increase of more than 150,000 people on 2015 levels.
“By acting now and investing in staff in the the early diagnosis and treatments areas of the service, so many more lives could be saved.
“By 2034, our ambition is for thee in four people to survive their cancer, but advances in technology and treatment mean nothing if we don’t have the staff to deliver them.
“That’s why the support of MPs is so vitally important to help make the UK’s cancer services the best in the world.”
For more information visit cruk.org/shouldertoshoulder or join the conversation on twitter #ShouldertoShoulder.
About Cancer Research UK
- Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
- Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
- Cancer Research UK receives no funding from the UK government for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on vital donations from the public.
- Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years.
- Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least 10 years. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years.
- Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
- Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.