Beating bowel cancer together

Our response to the Autumn Budget

Monday 29 October 2018

Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, presented his Autumn Budget to Parliament, setting out the Government’s economic plan for the country. In his speech the Chancellor confirmed that the NHS would receive a funding increase of £20bn per year by 2023/24.

Ahead of the Budget and the publication of the NHS 10 Year Plan, the charity launched the ‘End the Capacity Crisis’ campaign to highlight the scale of staff shortages within bowel cancer diagnostic services.

Over 7,000 people, including patients, NHS staff, cross-party MPs, and leading professional bodies, signed our open letter calling on the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock to work together to develop a fully funded action plan to tackle the growing workforce crisis.

Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, says: “We are pleased the Chancellor has guaranteed the much-needed extra £20bn for the NHS. However this doesn’t go far enough and does not cover other parts of the wider health budget, such as staff training. The ambitions that will be set out in the forthcoming 10 Year Plan will not be realised without additional workforce. In fact efforts to improve early diagnosis of bowel cancer and overall survival will be undermined without additional capacity.

“Over recent years demand for diagnostic tests has been rapidly increasing, in part due to an ageing population. This will increase further as the Government delivers the Prime Minister’s commitment for an optimal bowel screening programme, which includes lowering the bowel cancer screening age from 60 to 50 and introducing the potentially more accurate and easier to use Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) -  implementation of which is already seriously delayed. However we currently do not have the staff to meet this rise in demand without the extra workforce these initiatives will be a pipedream.

“The Government must finally get to grips with tackling this problem, and we urge the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to address the workforce capacity crisis in his eagerly awaited NHS 10 Year Plan due to be announced next month.”

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