Cancer: Cumbria

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 21st February 2022.

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Photo of Neil Hudson Neil Hudson Conservative, Penrith and The Border

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the backlog of cases of people requiring diagnosis and treatment of cancer in Cumbria.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Cumbria stretches across both NHS England and NHS Improvement North East and Yorkshire, and NHS England and NHS Improvement North West.

Urgent cancer diagnostic and surgical cases were prioritised in north Cumbria during the COVID pressures, with clinics and operations being protected so urgent cases can be clinically prioritised. NHS England and NHS Improvement North East and Yorkshire have worked closely with partners within the Northern Cancer Alliance and created a Surgical Coordination Cell to ensure cancer surgeries were expedited across the region.

Additionally, a new Modular Endoscopy Unit opened at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle in November 2021 to expand capacity and ensure more timely appointment for patients. The £1.2 million modular unit will aim to see 500 patients a month over a six-month period and has sustained this trajectory to date since its launch.

The Cumberland team will also recruit four new cancer nursing specialists and is developing new pathways and developments, such as the launch of a Serious Non-Specific Symptoms Rapid Diagnostic Centre (RDCs) Pathway.

NHS England and NHS Improvement North West have worked with its clinical commissioning group to introduce RDCs in colorectal, upper gastrointestinal tract (UGI), hepatobiliary and cancers of unknown primary, with a prostate RDC also in development.

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