Cancer: Coronavirus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the provision and uptake of cancer services following the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

On 8 June 2020, the National Cancer Director and the National Clinical Director for Cancer issued a further letter of guidance to NHS cancer services on Second phase of NHS response to Covid-19 for cancer services. The letter notes that the work for local systems and Cancer Alliances to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer should now be well advanced, so that referrals, diagnostics and treatment can be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand. Cancer Alliances should work with their regional teams to provide such services.

The NHS is seeking to increase people coming forward with worrying cancer symptoms through cancer-specific messages as part of the ‘Help us help you’ campaign.

On 3rd August 2020, NHS England and Improvement announced that ‘COVID-friendly’ cancer treatments, that are safer for patients during the pandemic, will be expanded and extended through a £160 million initiative. The funding will pay for drugs that treat patients without having such a big impact on their immune system or offer other benefits such as fewer hospital visits.

Regular meetings with the NHSE Cancer leads, Cally Palmer and Professor Peter Johnson are taking place to ensure service restoration goes on at pace.

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