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Cancer: Health Services

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 75484, tabled on 16 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that cancer treatment is provided in coronavirus-free hubs with the required (a) equipment, (b) covid-19 testing and (c) staff resources in (i) Bury South constituency and (ii) England.

Answered on

25 August 2020

On 8 June 2020, the National Cancer Director and the National Clinical Director for Cancer issued further guidance to National Health Service cancer services on the second phase of the NHS response to COVID-19 for cancer services. The states that the work for local systems and Cancer Alliances to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer should now be well advanced, so that referrals, diagnostics and treatment can be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand. Cancer Alliances should work with their regional teams to provide these essential services.

This includes focussing on reducing the number of over 62-day waiters on cancer pathways, particularly rescheduling diagnostic procedures or treatment for those who have had their care delayed by the pandemic.

The NHS is now working on the restoration and recovery of all cancer services. We are encouraging anybody with symptoms that could be indicative of cancer to contact their general practitioner (GP).

GPs will continue to refer on to cancer pathways in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance so that patients can be managed appropriately.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all personalised care and support should continue by telephone, video, online or by post if face-to-face appointments and group sessions have not been possible. As set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, these interventions will be implemented where appropriate for every person diagnosed with cancer by 2021.