Cancer: Diagnosis

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his oral statement of 1 July 2019, Official Report, column 929, on the NHS Long Term Plan: Implementation, what steps his Department is taking to achieve the target to diagnose 75 per cent of cancers at stage 1 and 2 for less survivable cancers.

Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his oral statement of 1 July 2019, Official Report, column 929, on the NHS Long Term Plan: Implementation, if he will publish his plans to achieve the target to diagnose 75 per cent of cancers at stage 1 and 2 for less survivable cancers.

Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

To achieve the NHS Long Term Plan ambition, we are modernising our world-renowned cancer screening programmes by introducing faecal immunochemical testing into the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme and human papillomavirus as the primary test in the NHS Cervical Screening Programme.

NHS England is establishing rapid diagnostic centres, which build on the 10 models piloted through the ‘Accelerate, Coordinate and Evaluate’ programme, which have focussed on diagnosing cancers where patients often present with non-specific symptoms and may go to their general practitioner (GP) many times before being sent for appropriate tests. These will be particularly important for the less-survivable cancers.

NHS England is extending lung health checks, targeting clinical commissioning groups with the lowest survival rates. In Greater Manchester introducing low dose CT health checks saw an almost five-fold reduction in stage 4 disease, with 80% of cancers diagnosed at an early stage.

There will also be efforts to continue to raise awareness cancer symptoms, lower the threshold for GP referrals and accelerate access to diagnosis and treatment.

As set out in the NHS Long Term Plan Implementation Framework, local systems are being asked to create their five-year strategic plans to deliver the commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan. Plans should be created by November 2019. System plans will then be aggregated, brought together with additional national activity and published as part of a national implementation plan by the end of 2019. These plans will include the less survivable cancers.

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