Beating bowel cancer together

Our response to the Government spending review

Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, presented his first spending review to Parliament, setting out the Government’s economic plan for the country for the next 12 months.

In his speech the Chancellor confirmed a £6.2 billion increase in NHS funding next year, including:

  • A 3.4 per cent increase in Health Education England (HEE) budget. This will include an additional £150 million for Continuing Professional Development.
  • £2 billion committed to capital funding to upgrade 20 hospitals 
  • £250 million for new artificial intelligence technologies
  • £210 million for frontline NHS staff

Our ‘End the Capacity Crisis’ campaign highlights the scale of staff shortages in services that diagnose bowel cancer, including endoscopy and pathology services.

Demand for endoscopy and pathology services, which provide key diagnostic tests for bowel cancer, has been increasing dramatically. However thousands of patients are having to wait too long between being referred and having their tests because there is a severe shortage of trained NHS staff that can carry out these tests. Without the adequate workforce to meet this demand, patients will continue to be kept waiting. 

Last year over 7,000 people, including patients, NHS staff, cross-party MPs, and leading professional bodies, signed our open letter calling for a fully funded action plan to tackle the growing workforce crisis.

Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research and External Affairs at Bowel Cancer UK, says:

“We are pleased the Chancellor has guaranteed much-needed extra funding for Health Education England for training NHS staff to support the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

However, a lack of staff has negatively impacted efforts to improve early diagnosis of bowel cancer and overall survival in recent years. Demand for diagnostic tests has been rapidly increasing and this is set to continue further as the NHS delivers on its commitments to an improved bowel screening programme, including lowering the bowel cancer screening age from 60 to 50.

This funding is not enough to address staff shortages as ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan will not be achieved without significant and long term investment in recruitment and training NHS workforce.

“The Government must finally get to grips with tackling this problem and allocate long term funding to address the capacity crisis in endoscopy and pathology services, and support the delivery of NHS Improvement’s final People Plan.”

Find out more about our End the Capacity Crisis campaign.

Read our blog on the campaign

Did you wait longer than two weeks for an urgent referral or six weeks for a routine endoscopy appointment? We want to hear from you. Share your story with us.

Become a campaigner and help lead the change and improve early diagnosis of bowel cancer.

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