Tackle the cancer backlog, demands Tony Lloyd

Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, is demanding ring-fenced funding to tackle the cancer backlog and greater investment in radiotherapy treatments, following Government announcements that the NHS will receive £5.4bn of funding to help reduce hospital waiting lists and the backlog of operations and treatments delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tony said,
“There are many backlogs in the healthcare system, but the cancer backlog is one the most deadliest and time critical of all. Many cancers are no longer life threatening if caught early and treated properly. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Covid has pushed some cancer sufferers too far down the queue. We need to respond to this by making sure that cancer is once again a priority. Early diagnosis is fundamental.

“Radiotherapy is a Covid-safe treatment for cancer. It’s not invasive as surgery, and it has a minimal impact on the immune system in comparison to chemotherapy.

“Yet only 27% of cancer patients can access radiotherapy. This is a shocking figure when you consider that international standards suggest that this figure should be as high as 60%.

“Research has shown that for every four weeks of delay the risk of death increases by 10%.

“That’s why I’m demanding Government Ministers set aside a significant proportion of the new NHS backlogs funding package, to invest in the radiotherapy sector by replacing old machines and increase the overall number available.”

Tony joins cross-Party MPs in writing to the Health Secretary and Chancellor, demanding they ‘boost the Covid-safe capacity of radiotherapy technologies by investing £230M to replace aging radiotherapy machines,’ and ‘strip away the bureaucracy that holds back radiotherapy and restricts frontline professionals from using the most advanced techniques for their patients.’

They are also calling for investment ‘to bring radiotherapy closer to people’s homes’ and to ‘integrate radiotherapy treatment technologies into the rollout of some of the proposed NHS Diagnostic Hubs.’