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30,000 people waiting for cancer treatment

Cancer patient

The “devastating” impact of cancer has been highlighted in new figures showing the scale of the backlog caused by the pandemic.

One of the key problems caused by the pandemic was a sharp fall in the number of referrals. However, NHS England has said a record 2.7 million people were referred for cancer checks in the last year. One of the key problems caused by the pandemic was a sharp fall in the number of referrals.

NHS England has warned for some time that it is struggling to meet its bold target to improve cancer diagnosis as the proportion of cancer patients starting treatment within two months of an urgent GP referral fell from 87% to 70%.

“Our upcoming 10-year cancer plan that will lead Europe in cancer care, along with our record investment to cut waiting times and the introduction of the Health and Social Care Levy will help us continue our mission to tackle the Covid backlogs.”

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid.

National Cancer Director for NHS England, Dame Cally Palmer said there were still 30,000 people who had not started treatment due to the pandemic but that the new referral figures suggested some progress.

Commenting on the news, she said: “We are going further and faster than ever before in our ambitions to diagnose more cancers at an earlier stage so that we can save more lives.”

Given that some are warning that these referral figures may be seen as a post-pandemic bounce, she warned that it is “vital that we keep these referral rates high.”

Cancer diagnosis, people should continue to come forwards:

NHS cancer chiefs continue to urge people to come forward as the latest data shows that record numbers of people have received vital NHS cancer tests in the last year (March 2021 – February 2022).

NHS England has said that it has doubled spending on cancer awareness campaigns and continue to encourage people to come forward for checks if invited by the NHS or if they have experienced any worrying symptoms.

Common symptoms of cancer include lumps or bumps and unexplained weight loss or fatigue.

National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS England, Professor Peter Johnson said: “We know the pandemic meant that at first we saw fewer patients, but in the last year GP’s have been referring people for investigation in record numbers and have been working hard to make sure people with worrying symptoms can be seen. The NHS has continued to prioritise cancer care throughout the pandemic.

“It’s vital people continue to come forward, so if you have a sign or symptom that you’re worried about, such as a persistent cough that is not COVID, or prolonged discomfort in the abdomen, please come forward – getting checked out could save your life”.

“Help Us Help You”:

NHS campaigns, such as “Help Us Help You” and work with Prostate Cancer UK, have raised more public awareness about cancer screenings and has encouraged people to come forward.

Since the Prostate Cancer UK campaign operated through February and March, over 550,000 people have used their risk checker with those deemed high risk encouraged to visit their GP.

As set out in the NHS elective recovery plan earlier this year, around £2.3 billion will be used to expand diagnostics and £1.5billion for treatment, with a focus on cancer, to ensure wait times are addressed for everyone. The NHS will increase capacity to deliver around 17 million diagnostic tests over a three-year period.

72-year-old Clive Horsnell from Devon was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year and was treated with advanced robotic surgery at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust. He had been experiencing symptoms but was prompted to come forward for a check having seen an NHS ‘Help Us Help You’ advert.

He said: “I was getting constipation and was forcing myself to go to the loo and then I was seeing blood.

“I saw the NHS advert on the television, and I contacted my GP straight away.

“By the end of the week I was having a colonoscopy and was told then that I had the cancer.

“I was in hospital within a couple of weeks for scans and met with a doctor at Derriford Hospital who was absolutely brilliant and explained the special robotic procedure I’d be having. He really put my mind at ease.

“I was back in the following day and it all went really smoothly. The procedure was amazing, I had five holes in my tummy, but they didn’t have to open me up, everything was done inside. The recovery time is so quick, and within a few days I was home.

“I lost my mum when I was 18 with a tumour on the brain, and I have four sisters who have all had cancer, as well as my son.

“I’m so glad I had that check-up and got the treatment I needed so quickly. I can now get on with my life.

“I was back in again in January just to confirm that everything had gone well, and I’ve had the ‘all clear’.”

Innovation must meet cancer demand:

In order to meet increasing demand for cancer checks, NHS services across the country are expanding their diagnostic capabilities through one stop shops for tests, mobile clinics and cancer symptom hotlines, ensuring people are diagnosed and treated as early as possible to give them a much better chance of beating the disease.

More than 30,000 people every month are being invited for lung cancer checks through NHS mobile trucks visiting at risk communities across the country, as part of the biggest programme to improve early lung cancer diagnosis in health service history.

In London, the first ‘Man Van’ programme, developed by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, RM Partners West London Cancer Alliance, and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is rolling out to provide free health checks for men and boost early diagnosis of prostate and other urological cancers.

The van, currently in New Addington, previously visited workplaces and churches in the South West London area, focusing on men of working age who often have worse prostate cancer outcomes than older men, and black men, who have roughly double the risk of developing prostate cancer and an increased risk of death once diagnosed. It is now open to the public and will be visiting various locations within West London.

Cancer outreach, 'Man Van'
Developed by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, RM Partners West London Cancer Alliance, and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, the ‘Man Van’ launched to speed up cancer diagnosis and improve healthcare access.

At The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, they have introduced telephone triage for certain cancer referrals so that patients can speak to doctors sooner, as well as increasing the use of ‘straight-to-test’ pathways for lower gastrointestinal patients to get diagnosed as early as possible and expanding one-stop-shop slots for patients referred under a breast cancer pathway, so patients can get all their tests in one trip.

The Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “The pandemic put unprecedented pressure on the NHS and it is positive to see more people coming forward for treatment and record numbers of people receiving life-saving cancer checks.

“We need to go beyond business as usual which is why we are rolling out new surgical hubs and up to 160 community diagnostic centres offering millions more scans, checks and operations as soon as possible – with over 770,000 additional tests delivered already.

“Our upcoming 10-year cancer plan that will lead Europe in cancer care, along with our record investment to cut waiting times and the introduction of the Health and Social Care Levy will help us continue our mission to tackle the Covid backlogs.”

Final Thought:

Let’s be honest, cancer outcomes before the pandemic were truly awful. English cancer outcomes were some of the worst in Europe.

Todays figures are a welcome sign of recovery after the dire consequences of the pandemic, but with 30,000 people still awaiting treatment there is a long way to go to ensure peoples husbands, wives, mums, dads and children’s lives are saved.

To speed up progress, that is why innovation is critical to improving outcomes. What can be done to speed up the creation of the Government’s community diagnostic hubs? How can we change the culture of the NHS to make innovation a defining aim?  How can the Health and Social Care Act enable clinicians to commission preventative measures? 

All these questions will be the focus of Curia’s NHS Innovation and Life Sciences Commission. To get involved and find out more, visit: https://chamberuk.com/nhs-innovation-and-life-sciences-commission/

30,000 people waiting for cancer treatment

The “devastating” impact of cancer has been highlighted in new figures showing the scale of the backlog caused by the pandemic.

However, NHS England has said a record 2.7 million people were referred for cancer checks in the last year. One of the key problems caused by the pane doc was a sharp fall in the number of referrals.

National Cancer Director for NHS England, Dame Cally Palmer said there were still 30,000 people who had not started treatment due to the pandemic but that the new referral figures suggested some progress.

Commenting on the news, she said: “We are going further and faster than ever before in our ambitions to diagnose more cancers at an earlier stage so that we can save more lives.”

Given that some are warning that these referral figures may be seen as a post-pandemic bounce, she warned that it is “vital that we keep these referral rates high.”

People should continue to come forwards:

NHS cancer chiefs continue to urge people to come forward as the latest data shows that record numbers of people have received vital NHS cancer tests in the last year (March 2021 – February 2022).

NHS England has said that it has doubled spending on cancer awareness campaigns and continue to encourage people to come forward for checks if invited by the NHS or if they have experienced any worrying symptoms.

National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS England, Professor Peter Johnson said: “We know the pandemic meant that at first we saw fewer patients, but in the last year GP’s have been referring people for investigation in record numbers and have been working hard to make sure people with worrying symptoms can be seen. The NHS has continued to prioritise cancer care throughout the pandemic.

“It’s vital people continue to come forward, so if you have a sign or symptom that you’re worried about, such as a persistent cough that is not COVID, or prolonged discomfort in the abdomen, please come forward – getting checked out could save your life”.

“Help Us Help You”:

NHS campaigns, such as “Help Us Help You” and work with Prostate Cancer UK, have raised more public awareness about cancer screenings and has encouraged people to come forward.

Since the Prostate Cancer UK campaign operated through February and March, over 550,000 people have used their risk checker with those deemed high risk encouraged to visit their GP.

As set out in the NHS elective recovery plan earlier this year, around £2.3 billion will be used to expand diagnostics and £1.5billion for treatment, with a focus on cancer, to ensure wait times are addressed for everyone. The NHS will increase capacity to deliver around 17 million diagnostic tests over a three-year period.

72-year-old Clive Horsnell from Devon was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year and was treated with advanced robotic surgery at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust. He had been experiencing symptoms but was prompted to come forward for a check having seen an NHS ‘Help Us Help You’ advert.

He said: “I was getting constipation and was forcing myself to go to the loo and then I was seeing blood.

“I saw the NHS advert on the television, and I contacted my GP straight away.

“By the end of the week I was having a colonoscopy and was told then that I had the cancer.

“I was in hospital within a couple of weeks for scans and met with a doctor at Derriford Hospital who was absolutely brilliant and explained the special robotic procedure I’d be having. He really put my mind at ease.

“I was back in the following day and it all went really smoothly. The procedure was amazing, I had five holes in my tummy, but they didn’t have to open me up, everything was done inside. The recovery time is so quick, and within a few days I was home.

“I lost my mum when I was 18 with a tumour on the brain, and I have four sisters who have all had cancer, as well as my son.

“I’m so glad I had that check-up and got the treatment I needed so quickly. I can now get on with my life.

“I was back in again in January just to confirm that everything had gone well, and I’ve had the ‘all clear’.”

Innovation must meet demand:

To meet increasing demand for cancer checks, NHS services across the country are expanding their diagnostic capabilities through one stop shops for tests, mobile clinics and cancer symptom hotlines, ensuring people are diagnosed and treated as early as possible to give them a much better chance of beating the disease.

More than 30,000 people every month are being invited for lung cancer checks through NHS mobile trucks visiting at risk communities across the country, as part of the biggest programme to improve early lung cancer diagnosis in health service history.

In London, the first ‘Man Van’ programme, developed by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, RM Partners West London Cancer Alliance, and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is rolling out to provide free health checks for men and boost early diagnosis of prostate and other urological cancers.

The van, currently in New Addington, previously visited workplaces and churches in the South West London area, focusing on men of working age who often have worse prostate cancer outcomes than older men, and black men, who have roughly double the risk of developing prostate cancer and an increased risk of death once diagnosed. It is now open to the public and will be visiting various locations within West London.

At The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, they have introduced telephone triage for certain cancer referrals so that patients can speak to doctors sooner, as well as increasing the use of ‘straight-to-test’ pathways for lower gastrointestinal patients to get diagnosed as early as possible and expanding one-stop-shop slots for patients referred under a breast cancer pathway, so patients can get all their tests in one trip.

The Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “The pandemic put unprecedented pressure on the NHS and it is positive to see more people coming forward for treatment and record numbers of people receiving life-saving cancer checks.

“We need to go beyond business as usual which is why we are rolling out new surgical hubs and up to 160 community diagnostic centres offering millions more scans, checks and operations as soon as possible – with over 770,000 additional tests delivered already.

“Our upcoming 10-year cancer plan that will lead Europe in cancer care, along with our record investment to cut waiting times and the introduction of the Health and Social Care Levy will help us continue our mission to tackle the Covid backlogs.”

Final Thought:

Let’s be honest, cancer outcomes before the pandemic were truly awful. They were some of the worst in Europe.

After the dire consequences of the pandemic, today’s figures are a welcome sign of recovery a, but with 30,000 people still awaiting treatment there is a long way to go to ensure peoples husbands, wives, mums, dads and children’s lives are saved.

To speed up progress, that is why innovation is critical to improving outcomes. What can be done to speed up the creation of the Government’s community diagnostic hubs? How can we change the culture of the NHS to make innovation a defining aim?  How can the new Health and Social Care Act enable clinicians to commission preventative measures? 

All these questions will be the focus of Curia’s NHS Innovation and Life Sciences Commission. To get involved and find out more, visit: https://chamberuk.com/nhs-innovation-and-life-sciences-commission/

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We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

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Receive our latest insights as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

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We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.