Thank you for contacting me about cancer treatment during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
I was delighted when it was announced that NHS services could begin restarting from 28 April, starting with the most urgent, like cancer care and mental health support. The NHS is open for business, and anyone who needs care and treatment should continue to access it as and when they need it, especially when delays could impose both an immediate and a long term risk to health. In particular I welcome that the Government has announced £3 billion funding to support the NHS recovery from COVID-19, to help to ease existing pressures and enable hospitals to carry out extra checks, scans, and other operations or procedures. This will help to ensure that cancer patients are able to access the care that they need as safely and quickly as possible.
Cancer is a priority for the Government and survival rates are at a record high. Since 2010 rates of survival from cancer have increased year-on-year. Around 7,000 people are alive today who would not have been had mortality rates stayed the same as then. I agree that we need to keep working on this, which is why I welcome the Government's stated aim to see three quarters of all cancers detected at an early stage by 2028 (currently just over half are detected at an early stage). The plan will overhaul screening programmes, provide new investment in state of the art technology to transform the process of diagnosis, and boost research and innovation. This is part of the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP), published in January 2019, and forms part of how the Government will achieve its ambition to see 55,000 more people surviving cancer for five years in England each year from 2028. I will continue to support the Government and the NHS to deliver on this, in spite of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.