Dawn supporting the Cancer Research UK campaign
Dawn supporting the Cancer Research UK campaign

Dawn is backing a life-saving appeal from Cancer Research UK for more NHS cancer staff.

Dawn attended a special event in Westminster last week to support the charity’s new campaign – ‘Shoulder to Shoulder Against Cancer’.

It encourages everyone to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS by calling on the UK Government to tackle the chronic shortage of staff who diagnose and treat the disease.

For 70 years the NHS has been at the forefront of fighting cancer, but with a growing and ageing population cancer services are struggling to cope with the increased number of diagnoses.

This means more staff are urgently needed to keep up with the demand for life-saving tests and treatments, yet already 1 in 10 NHS diagnostic posts are unfilled.

In the UK, cancer survival rates are still lagging behind the best in Europe and in England nearly half of all/use ‘many’ for the devolved nations cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully.

To help save more lives, Cancer Research UK is now urging the UK Government to commit to training and employing more NHS staff to diagnose and treat cancer earlier.

Dawn said:

“I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected by cancer and I pay tribute to Cancer Research UK for its tireless efforts in funding research, developing policy and in providing support for patients and their families.

More people are surviving cancer than ever before, thanks to the fantastic work of our NHS staff. But as the health service reaches its 70th birthday, we know it is facing unprecedented challenges.

NHS Brent has around 1,100 cancer cases and around 450 cancer deaths per year. It is therefore vital that we have an NHS which is fit to deliver world-class care for all cancer patients now and in the future.

Improving cancer diagnosis should be a key priority for the Government. That’s why I’m backing Cancer Research UK’s call to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer, so that everyone has the best possible chance of surviving this devastating disease.”

As pledged in the Labour Party’s manifesto last year, the next Labour government will invest in the NHS, to give patients the modern, well-resourced services they need for the 21st century. Labour will ensure that NHS patients get world-class quality of care and will ensure that NHS staff are able to deliver the standards that patients expect. Labour has also pledged a Cancer Strategy for England to help 2.5 million people living with cancer.

To speed up and improve cancer diagnosis and treatment, investment is needed in key professions, including radiographers and radiologists who carry out and interpret scans such as MRIs, endoscopists who look inside the body by inserting a tiny camera and pathologists who look for abnormal cells, as well as oncologists (cancer specialists), nurses and surgeons.

Shaun Walsh, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at Cancer Research UK, said:

“We’re grateful to Dawn Butler MP for her support. It’s up to all of us to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against the disease.

“Without increased investment in NHS staff, we could see the death toll from cancer rising. But by acting right now and investing in the early diagnostic workforce, we could help prevent a crisis in the future and save many more lives.

“Today, 2 in 4people survive their cancer. It’s our ambition for this to be 3 in 4 by 2034. That’s why we hope MPs, patients and the public get behind this vitally important campaign to help make our cancer services among the best in the world.”

To take action visit www.cruk.org/shouldertoshoulder or join the conversation on twitter #ShouldertoShoulder.

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