I sympathise profoundly with anybody who has been affected by cancer and I pay tribute to organisations like Cancer Research UK for the work they do to raise awareness of the disease and provide support to sufferers in our constituency and across the country.
I believe every NHS patient should receive the world-class quality of care they need and that NHS staff should have the resources to deliver the standards that patients expect.
The Cancer Strategy, published by an Independent NHS England Cancer Taskforce in 2015, contains proposals that could go a long way towards helping some of the estimated 2.5 mil-lion people living with cancer. The strategy emphasises the importance of early diagnosis as a potential area for major gains in survival and I know that Cancer Research UK has welcomed the Government’s commitment to invest in new diagnostic capacity. If implemented in full, the strategy could save 30,000 more lives every year by 2020.
However, I remain concerned by the latest NHS England monthly performance statistics, which reveal that targets are not being met for 3 of the 8 cancer standards. Indeed the last time the Government met its target for referral to consultant-led treatment within 18 weeks was in February 2016.
At the General Election in June I stood on a manifesto that promised to guarantee and uphold the standards of service to which patients are legally entitled under the NHS constitution. The manifesto also pledged to deliver the Cancer Strategy for England in full by 2020 and introduce legislation to ensure safe staffing levels in the NHS.
I have signed the cross-party letter asking the Prime Minister to provide further resources to deliver the life saving cancer tests and treatments to people across the UK and within the Heeley area. I will continue to press the Government to do more to improve cancer services and outcomes and ensure that this is a key priority for this parliament.