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Long awaited radiotherapy consultation response is insult to patients and clinicians – MP

January 22, 2019 4:06 PM

South Lakes MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Radiotherapy Tim Farron has labelled NHS England's consultation response on the future of radiotherapy services as "weak", "vague" and says that it "ignores the concerns of patients and does not address the main concerns of clinicians".

NHS England's response comes a year after the consultation originally closed.

Over 12,000 people responded to the consultation with NHS England stating that most of them raised the issue of travel to their nearest radiotherapy unit.

Despite this, NHS England's response shows no sign of looking to improve access to treatment.

Tim said: "We have nagged NHS England for the past 12 months to respond to this important consultation on the future of life-saving radiotherapy treatment.

"They acknowledge the issues surrounding distance to radiotherapy units but their solution is that cancer patients 'can continue to be treated locally'. What an insult to cancer patients here in South Cumbria that have to a make 3-4 hour round trip every day for weeks on end to reach their nearest radiotherapy centre.

"1 in 4 four of us will need radiotherapy treatment at some point during our lives and yet only 5% of the UK cancer budget is spent on the treatment. So it was incredibly disappointing to see nothing in NHS England's response about the need for more funding.

"Put bluntly: NHS England have missed the opportunity to save more lives.

"I welcome recent announcements from Government ministers that they are going to engage with our APPG's manifesto which aims for a world class radiotherapy service.

"So, I call on them to supplement this disappointing consultation response with a meaningful commitment for increased funding of radiotherapy as outlined in the manifesto with more satellite centres, a national fund to make sure all of our cancer units have the most up to date available equipment and technology, and commissioning and delivery of the best and most advanced radiotherapy for all patients."