Time to rebuild our NHS cancer workforce

For years, we've been highlighting the impact of staff shortages on our NHS cancer workforce. If the Government doesn’t act as part of their Autumn Spending Review, our NHS will struggle to cope, and cancers will go undiagnosed or diagnosed too late. We're in danger of moving from one healthcare crisis to another.

You have the power to ensure that people affected by cancer are being heard.

Ask your MP to support Government funding for recruiting and training more NHS staff who save lives by diagnosing and treating cancer early.

Before COVID-19, around 1 in 10 diagnostic positions across our health service in England were unfilled, with two-thirds of NHS staff saying they felt staffing levels were insufficient.

The pandemic has only made this worse. Between April and July 2020, we saw a shortfall of 3 million people not screened for cancer, urgent cancer referrals plummeted, leaving hundreds of thousands without cancer tests, and more than 30,000 fewer cancer treatments took place. This will mean thousands of people missing out on the vital early diagnosis and swift treatment of cancer that is so important to survival.

How the Government responds to shortages in the cancer workforce will determine what the future holds for cancer patients and our NHS. Right now, just over half of cancers are diagnosed in the earlier, more treatable stages. Addressing staff shortages is key to the dramatic shift needed by the Government to meet their own target of 75% of cancers diagnosed early by 2028 – and saving thousands more lives.

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