Mary Glindon MP: Dire cancer figures show we really must do better and more quickly

Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP.Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP.
Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP.
It’s frightening enough to be diagnosed for cancer but we can all imagine, or know already, how big a nightmare it is to wait for treatment.

Life is on hold as the mind loops through worst case scenarios. And the cancer can accelerate towards an inoperable or terminal stage.

Early diagnosis and treatment save lives. The continuing consequences of the Covid crisis have increased waiting lists overall and the picture for the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is mixed.

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Last year, the Trust met the target for 93% of patients to see a cancer specialist within two weeks of being referred by a GP.

However, the target for 85% of patients starting treatment for cancer within 62 days of an urgent referral was not met. It was just 69.4%.

If the target had been reached, 54 additional patients would have started treatment. We could be or know these individuals.

Cancer Research UK tells me that national cancer waiting times are among the worst on record and are symptomatic of a cancer service under intense strain due to increasing demand and staff shortages.

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I told the Health Secretary in Commons Questions this week that there will be over half a million new cases a year by 2040.

I asked him to confirm when the NHS long-term workforce plan will be published.

We need transparent projections for workforce need for the next 15 years. We also need to be assured that the plan will be fully funded to ensure that there are enough staff to deliver timely diagnosis and treatment for cancer patients.

He accentuated the positive but the dire figures show we really must do better and more quickly.

Mary Glindon is Labour MP for North Tyneside