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Question for Department of Health

UIN HL4935, tabled on 11 February 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve cancer care across the National Health Service and to ensure that National Health Service staff are trained to meet the future needs of cancer patients.

Answered on

25 February 2015

On Sunday 11 January NHS England announced a new independent cancer taskforce to develop a five-year action plan for cancer services that will improve survival rates and save thousands of lives. It will produce a new cross-system national cancer strategy to 2020, building on NHS England’s vision for improving cancer outcomes as set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

The taskforce will work in partnership with the cancer community and other health system leaders, and will be chaired by Dr Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK. It will include cancer specialist doctors and clinicians, patients groups and charity leaders, Public Health England, local council representatives and professional bodies.

The strategy will set a clear direction covering the whole cancer pathway, from prevention to living with and beyond cancer and end-of-life care, issues such as data, workforce, research and reducing inequalities. It will also consider how services need to develop and innovate in the future. The taskforce will produce a statement of intent by March 2015, with the new strategy to be published in the summer.

It is the responsibility of the professional regulators to set the standards and content for education and training and ensure newly qualified doctors, nurses, and other professionals are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to provide high-quality patient care. The General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council set standards for the education of doctors and nurses respectively. The royal colleges have responsibility for developing curricula for doctors and nurses.

The Government has mandated Health Education England (HEE) to provide national leadership on education, training and workforce development in the National Health Service in England. HEE works across disciplines to train staff to deal with patients with all conditions, including cancer.