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MP backs national campaign for more NHS staff to tackle waiting times for bowel cancer tests

October 15, 2018 3:54 PM

South Lakes MP Tim has thrown his weight behind Bowel Cancer UK's End the Capacity Crisis campaign which calls on the Government to recruit more NHS staff to tackle long waiting times for tests that could diagnose bowel cancer - the UK's second biggest cancer killer.

Under NHS rules patients should wait no more than six weeks for these life-saving tests, but every month on average this year a quarter of NHS hospitals in England (28%) were in breach of this target - a clear red flag to the Government that NHS staff are struggling to cope.

Tim has joined more than 5,000 people and MPs from all parties in signing Bowel Cancer UK's open letter calling on the Chancellor and the Health Secretary to work together to develop a fully funded action plan to tackle staff shortages in diagnostic services for bowel cancer.

The letter was handed in to the Government ahead of the autumn budget at the end of this month and the publication of the NHS 10 Year plan in November.

Tim said: "I am totally committed to ensuring that everyone referred for this life-saving test is seen in a timely manner.

"That's why I have signed Bowel Cancer UK's important letter urging the government to invest in more NHS staff to tackle the long waiting times and bring an end to the capacity crisis, ahead of the autumn budget."

Asha Kaur, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Bowel Cancer UK, said: "Timely access to tests for bowel cancer is key to improving early diagnosis, but services to diagnose the disease have been under staffed and under resourced for some time.

"So, I'd like to thank Tim Farron for supporting our campaign to tackle this issue. We urgently need a fully funded action plan to address how workforce can be increased and staff trained, so we can save more lives by diagnosing people earlier."