Breast Cancer: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 20th October 2020.

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Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to allow breast screenings and treatments to continue during a potential second wave of covid-19.

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

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working to increase the resilience of breast cancer screening and diagnosis so that services may continue to operate during a second wave of COVID-19. The NHS England and NHS Improvement Public Health Commissioning and Operations Team advise that where there are local COVID-related lockdowns or other restrictions in place the expectation is that screening services should continue as contracted, including continuing actions to support the full restoration of National Health Service screening services. This includes the expectation that screening staff should not be diverted towards other services, or their buildings or facilities repurposed for other uses, without the specific agreement of the relevant regional commissioner.

Cancer treatment continued during the first wave and will continue during any second wave. Between March and August, over 200,000 cancer treatments were carried out, 85% of the number for the same period in 2019. From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, NHS England and NHS Improvement have been clear that cancer treatment should continue, a challenge which the NHS has risen to.

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