Closed petition Ensure access to treatment and screening for all cancer patients during Covid-19

I want the Government to make provisions, such as increased funding for the NHS, to ensure cancer patients still receive care including operations, scans, medications and chemotherapy during Covid-19. This should also ensure patients who need to be screened for potential cancers can access this.

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There are thousands of people that a have had treatments and scans paused or delayed for a long time. There are people out there now that have had cancer regrowth and are even now on end-of-life care.

You can’t tell people you’re saving them from a virus by shielding then tell them they are having their treatments paused.

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Government responded

This response was given on 24 November 2020

The NHS is working to restore cancer services as quickly as possible. Cancer Alliances have been allocated £153m to continue delivering treatment in a Covid safe way.

Read the response in full

The NHS is working hard to restore cancer services as quickly as possible. From March to September 2020, cancer treatment was maintained at 86% of pre-pandemic levels, and by September more urgent referrals were seen than the same time last year.

As set out in the third phase of the NHS response to COVID-19 our priorities for recovering cancer services are increasing urgent cancer referrals, reducing the number of patients waiting longer than 31 and 62 days for treatments or diagnostics, and ensuring capacity is in place for patients returning to the system in winter. This will be done alongside continued vigilance in light of any further COVID-19 surges.

A newly formed Cancer Recovery Taskforce, bringing together stakeholders and experts from across the cancer community, is overseeing the development of the cancer recovery plan, including considering any impact of a ‘second wave’ and review progress against objectives.

To ensure essential and urgent treatment for all cancers have continued throughout the response to the pandemic, COVID-protected surgical hubs have been established for cancer surgery across the country to keep often vulnerable cancer patients safe. This particularly protects cancer patients from immunocompromised infection. All 21 Cancer Alliances across England now have arrangements in place for cancer hubs.

On 3rd August 2020, NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I) announced that ‘COVID-friendly’ cancer treatments that are safer for patients during the pandemic will be expanded and extended through a £160 million initiative. The funding will pay for drugs that treat patients without having such a big impact on their immune system or offer other benefits such as fewer hospital visits.

NHSE/I has recently confirmed annual funding allocations of £153million for 2020-21 to the Cancer Alliances in England. 

NHSE/I did not provide direction at a national level to suspend NHS screening programmes in England during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, NHS Breast, Bowel and Cervical cancer screening services have been affected by a range of clinical and operational impacts during COVID-19, and as a result, some services at a local level rescheduled appointments and invitations.

NHSE/I is now working with service providers to ensure that services are safely restored to minimise any risk to individual patients. The backlog of people in cancer screening pathways is reducing, and there is a continued focus on sending out invites for routine screening appointments that were previously delayed.

Department of Health and Social Care

Other parliamentary business

MPs to debate the effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on breast cancer diagnosis and services

MPs will debate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on breast cancer diagnosis and the future of breast cancer services this Thursday 12 November in Westminster Hall. The subject of the debate has been determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

The debate will start at 1.30pm and last for 90 minutes.

Watch here this Thursday: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/9c994129-192c-4239-9a1f-8e4724d4d71b

Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/
Find out more about the Backbench Business Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/202/backbench-business-committee/

MPs to debate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the lung cancer pathway

MPs will debate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the lung cancer pathway on Wednesday 2 December in Westminster Hall.

This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

The debate will start at 4.00pm and last for 30 minutes.

Watch the debate here: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/0e5de682-671f-46f3-a746-008d551b4160

Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/

MPs hold inquiry into cancer services in England

The House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee is holding an inquiry into why cancer outcomes in England continue to lag behind comparable countries internationally. The Committee is examining evidence relating to the underlying causes of these differences.

The Committee is also considering what impact disruption to cancer services during the covid-19 pandemic have had on efforts to catch up, and whether the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan will help close the gap with the best performing countries worldwide.

Read about the inquiry here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/1377/cancer-services/news/156443/mps-seek-evidence-on-why-england-lags-behind-in-cancer-survival/

You can find future announcements about the inquiry here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/1377/cancer-services/

The submission period for written evidence for this inquiry has now passed, but you can view submitted written evidence here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/1377/cancer-services/publications/

We’re letting you know about this inquiry because you signed a petition calling on the Government to ensure access to treatment and screening for all cancer patients during Covid-19, and we thought this inquiry may be of interest to you.

What is the Health and Social Care Committee?

The Health and Social Care Committee scrutinises the work of the Department of Health and Social Care and its associated public bodies. It examines government policy, spending and administration on behalf of the electorate and the House of Commons. It's a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government.

Find out more on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/81/health-and-social-care-committee/

You can get updates on their work by following the Committee on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/CommonsHealth

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

You can also sign up to the UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/your-uk-parliament-newsletter-sign-up-form/

Share your views on improving cancer diagnosis and treatment with the Government

The Government is asking cancer patients, their relatives and NHS staff for their views on how it can save thousands more lives each year by improving the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in England.

Responses to the consultation will be used to inform the development of the Government’s 10-year Cancer Plan for England. The issues the Government is asking for views on include how to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer, and improving access to and experiences of cancer treatment.

Find out more and share your views: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/10-year-cancer-plan-call-for-evidence

The consultation closes on 1 April 2022. It is open to anyone aged 16 or over.

Who is running the consultation?

The consultation is being run by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), the Government Department responsible for the NHS and oversight of social care in England.

Find out more about DHSC: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health-and-social-care

What is the 10-Year Cancer Plan?

The 10-Year Cancer Plan for England will set out a new vision for how the NHS will deliver world-leading cancer care in England.

It will consider how to make the most of new innovations and what patient experience should look like in 2032. It will also consider how to build on lessons learned from the covid-19 pandemic. It is expected to be set out in the summer.

Find out more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/health-and-social-care-secretary-to-launch-new-10-year-national-war-on-cancer