As part of One Cancer Voice, we are writing to Conservative leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to urge they commit to taking bold action to improve cancer survival and outcomes in this country.
One Cancer Voice is a coalition of over 50 charities working on behalf of the one in two people who will get cancer in their lifetime.
In 2019, the Conservative Party manifesto championed the need to improve cancer survival as part of the party’s belief in the NHS and improving its performance. Though this commitment was a welcome one, the cancer landscape in 2022 does not live up to that promise. Cancer waiting times continue to be missed month on month (in May, the 62-day target of 85% was missed at 61.5%), cancer survival in this country continues to trail other comparable nations, and progress on vital early diagnosis has stalled.
This can and must change. The next Prime Minister’s leadership and commitment on this issue could make a huge difference in driving forward the change patients, practitioners and researchers need to deliver on the promised world leading cancer outcomes for families in this country.
As part of the letter, One Cancer Voice has suggested that impact should start with the 10-Year Cancer Plan, originally due to be published this July. We are urging both remaining candidates to recommit to the publication of this plan by and to work with us to ensure it is:
- Fit for the future, fit for patients: This plan must set bold and stretching targets to achieve what really matters to people affected by cancer in the next decade – for example, by ensuring 78% of people are diagnosed at stage one or stage two and a 95% Faster Diagnosis Standard is met.
- Visionary and achievable: A transformative plan will harness the power of the UK’s world beating research and innovation to improve outcomes, patient experience and tackle health inequalities head on. It would publicly announce objectives, set timelines and match them with smart investment, helping to boost the economy.
- A roadmap to solve cancer staff shortages: The plan must set out targeted funding to grow the cancer workforce to meet current and future demand to tackle backlogs, make more time for patients and drive innovation. It needs robust workforce modelling for the lifetime of the plan, matched by investment for at least the lifetime of the current Spending Review.
Today, there are around 375,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year – 313,000 in England alone. By 2035, we expect that UK number to rise to 500,000. Inaction is not acceptable for the patients of today and tomorrow.
We are requesting a meeting with the candidates to share our evidence and expertise, and help him/her seize this opportunity to make the next ten years transformative ones for cancer care.
We have also encouraged both candidates to read our calls to the Government, including our ten important tests for action on cancer.