Society and National Cancer Advisory Group urge government to invest in staff

Published: 21 October 2018 Ezine

A letter to the government asking them to commit more resources to the 10-year cancer plan has been published in the Daily Express (Tuesday, 9 October) along with an article headed, 'Britain's losing the battle with cancer, ministers warned'.

Signatories to the letter sent by the National Cancer Advisory Group (NCAG) include Charlotte Beardmore, the Society's director of professional policy. The SoR is a member of NCAG.

The open letter says, "A sufficiently resourced and skilled cancer workforce is fundamental to the success of the 10-year plan. Getting this right is pertinent across the cancer pathway. Staff shortages are impacting on our ability to diagnose patients at an earlier stage, when they have a better chance of survival, and to support patients through their treatment and beyond."

The letter was sent to stakeholders in NHS England, the prime minister, the Department of Health, Health Education England, Public Health England, and NHS Improvement, as well as key members of parliament.

It reminds the government that "cancer patients in England continue to experience poorer outcomes than other countries. We should be striving to prevent as many cancers as possible and to provide world-class care for those who develop cancer."

It goes on to say "It’s vital that further investment is made... planning for and training the cancer workforce, and in health research. 

"The plan must outline how NHS England will support Cancer Alliances and employers to deliver (the) cancer workforce plan to address urgent staff shortages, and to promote better use of skills mix. In the long-term, government must ensure that estimates for future staffing needs are central, that adequate funding is made available to ensure there is the right pipeline of staff, and that retention levels improve."

The Daily Expressalso included a commentary from Mike Richards, the former 'cancer tsar', who is the incoming chair of NCAG.

Read the full letter.