Thank you for contacting me about the #CatchUpWithCancer Campaign.
Let me assure you that I share the commitment of the campaign to see waiting lists for cancer treatment and care significantly reduced over the next few years.
Over the last year, the Government has provided funding to help recover cancer services, and a plan that outlines how that funding will be spent effectively.
Through the NHS Long Term Plan, an additional £32 million was provided for radiotherapy equipment in 2021/22, ensuring that approximately 100 radiotherapy treatment machines could be replaced or upgraded. Reinforced by £6 billion of capital investment in the 2021 Spending Review, the NHS is gradually reducing the number of linear accelerators aged 10 years or over.
It is right that this funding comes with high expectations for reducing cancer waiting times. By March 2024, the NHS has set an ambition for 75 per cent of patients who have been urgently referred by their GP for suspected cancer to be diagnosed or have cancer ruled out within 28 days.
The Government is currently developing a new 10 Year Cancer Plan, which will consider access to cancer treatments, including radiotherapy.
In the meantime, I also understand that payment arrangements for radiotherapy are being reviewed to ensure providers can increase access to new treatments and upgrade and replace equipment. These arrangements are expected to be in place from April 2023.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me