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Cancer: Waiting Lists

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 32419, tabled on 13 July 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service, Early: Cancer Diagnosis Guidance, published on 31 March 2021, what plans the Government has to produce a long-term strategy to tackle the estimated 37,000 people who had not started their first cancer treatment.

Answered on

26 July 2021

Following the ‘Help us help you’ campaign which raised awareness of general symptoms of cancer and encouraged people experiencing persistent symptoms to contact their general practitioner, cancer referrals reached over 10,500 referrals per day in April and 11,000 per day in May. Local systems, drawing on advice and analysis from their Cancer Alliance, will ensure that there is sufficient diagnostic and treatment capacity in place to meet the increased level of referrals and treatment required to address the number of first treatments by March 2022.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are prioritising delivery of NHS Long Term Plan commitments which supports recovery, such as increasing diagnostic capacity and early diagnosis and survival rates through rapid diagnostic centres (RDC). As of June 2021, there were 88 live RDC pathways across hospitals in England, compared to 12 in March 2020.