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MP presses Government to fast-track radiotherapy treatment to stop tragic and unnecessary cancer deaths

June 25, 2020 11:03 AM

On the floor of the House of Commons this afternoon, South Lakes MP Tim Farron urged ministers to go "further and faster" in bringing forward new radiotherapy treatment to help deal with the huge cancer waiting list caused by the pandemic.

Following pressure from medical professionals and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy, which Tim chairs, earlier this month NHS England announced the roll out of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) treatment across the country by April next year.

SABR is a more precise type of radiotherapy which cuts down the number of hospital visits vulnerable cancer patients will need to make.

Speaking during Health Questions in Parliament, Tim said: "With a 60% drop in cancer referrals and a 20% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment, we have late diagnoses and a backlog which tragically could kill more people than COVID.

"So will the minister go further and faster and deploy expanded radiotherapy treatment this summer to clear this backlog and commit to appointing a radiotherapy tsar and a rolling radiotherapy fund so that we can stop lives being unnecessarily lost?"

In response the health minister Jo Churchill said that the Government are "driving hard" to make sure patients get treated as soon as possible and that there is a possibility that the rollout could be brought forward.

Speaking afterwards, Tim said: "Locally here in the South Lakes there are sadly many people who have had their cancer surgery or chemotherapy treatment cancelled as a result of this pandemic.

"If the Government were to speed up the rollout radiotherapy treatment then we would be able to give cancer patients a better quality of life and a longer life."