To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 restrictions announced in January 2021 on the backlog of cancer treatments; and what estimate he has made of the number of patients that (a) have missed and (b) had delays to diagnosis and treatment in respect of (a) cancer surgery, (b) chemotherapy, (c) radiotherapy and (d) follow up.
15 March 2021
Data for referral numbers and those starting treatment for cancer in January 2021 will be published shortly.
The Government has taken a number of steps to ensure people can continue to access high-quality cancer care throughout the pandemic. For example, there are 53 live regional diagnostic centre pathways across hospitals in England, compared to 12 in March 2020. In October, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England launched the latest Help Us Help You campaign to urge people with potential symptoms of cancer to see their general practitioner.
Additionally, COVID-19 protected hubs for cancer surgery have been established to keep vulnerable cancer patients safe. This particularly protects cancer patients from immunocompromised infection. All 21 Cancer Alliances across England have arrangements in place for surgical cancer hubs.