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MP meets with NHS England chief exec to urge action on cancer services

February 1, 2021 9:38 AM

This week, South Lakes MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Radiotherapy Tim Farron met with the Chief Executive of NHS England Sir Simon Stevens, to push for urgent action to clear the cancer treatment backlog.

A BBC Panorama special last year found that there could be an extra 35,000 cancer deaths because of the pandemic.

During the meeting - which was also attended by NHS England's National Cancer Director Dame Cally Palmer, NHS England's National Clinical Director for Cancer Peter Johnson and the Chair of NHS England's Radiotherapy Clinical reference group Imogen Locke - Tim made the case for NHS England to boost cancer services to tackle the treatment backlog.

NHS England cancer bosses agreed with Tim that it was imperative that people didn't hesitate in getting checked up if they had worrying symptoms.

According to the charity Macmillan, from March to August last year around 30,000 fewer people had started their first cancer treatment compared to the year before.

After the meeting, Tim said: "I'm grateful to Sir Simon Stevens and cancer bosses at NHS England for taking the time to hear our deep concerns about the cancer backlog and the worrying drop in people coming forward for treatment.

"It's really important that cancer does not become the forgotten 'c' during this pandemic.

"We are all making huge sacrifices at the moment to protect our wonderful NHS so that it is able to treat people with illnesses such as cancer.

"So if you do have any worrying symptoms, please don't hesitate to contact your GP and get them checked."