Without urgent action, cancer survival could go backwards for the first time in decades.
45,000 fewer people have begun cancer treatment. The clock is ticking. For them, the chance of a life-saving early diagnosis is passing by.
Our NHS needs long term investment, so that more staff can be recuited and trained, to deal with the wave of demand for cancer services that is to come.
More NHS staff will increase the chance of people’s cancers being caught at the earlier, more treatable stages. And more staff will give people affected by cancer the gift of time; time with loved ones, time to do the things they love. Instead of time spent waiting for appointments and scans, time spent counting down the hours to get treatment, or time spent missing the people avoidably lost to cancer.
Even before the pandemic, cancer services were at breaking point. Around 1 in 10 diagnostic posts were vacant, with the positions open but unfilled. In January 2020, we had the worst 62-day cancer waiting times on record.
To deliver world class cancer services we need Government to increase staffing levels in the cancer workforce by 45% at the very least by 2029. To do this, our research shows the NHS needs an additional investment of up to £260mn in the next 3-5 years.
*45,000 fewer people didn't start cancer treatment in the UK between April 2020 and March 2021, compared to pre-pandemic levels.