Over 7,000 people back our campaign to end the capacity crisis
Monday 15 October 2018
Today we hand in an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt Hon Philip Hammond, and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, calling for a fully funded action plan to tackle NHS staff shortages in diagnostic services for bowel cancer – England’s second biggest cancer killer.
The letter comes ahead of the Government spending review later this month (29 October) and calls on the Chancellor and Health Secretary to invest in more NHS staff to cope with the rising demand for bowel cancer tests. Demand for colonoscopies has doubled since 2008, but this has not been matched with additional trained workforce by the Government, leading to a capacity crisis.
Over 7,000 people have signed the letter, including patients, NHS staff and Members of Parliament, as well as leading professional bodies like The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, British Society of Gastroenterology and the Joint Advisory Group on gastrointestinal endoscopy. It requests a comprehensive plan setting out clear recommendations to tackle workforce shortages and allow for future growth.
Recent figures published by NHS England show that almost 5,000 patients (4,491) in England during August 2018 waited more than six weeks for a test that could diagnose bowel cancer, a clear red flag to the Government that NHS staff are struggling to cope. This year alone, every month on average a quarter of NHS hospitals in England (28%), were in breach of waiting times. Under NHS rules patients should wait no more than six weeks for a colonoscopy test that can detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat.
Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, says: “We’re delighted over 7,000 people have come together to back our call for a fully funded action plan. We’ve been campaigning on this issue for some time – addressing workforce issues must happen now. With the new NHS 10 Year Plan expected to be published later this year, the £20bn NHS funding announcement and the autumn budget, now is the time to ensure challenges to workforce are prioritised.
“We cannot continue to paper over the cracks with short-term initiatives. We need a long-term solution to finally deal with this crisis in diagnostic services for bowel cancer. We hope both the Chancellor and the Health Secretary listen to the thousands of people who have signed our open letter to finally address this issue.”
- Read our full open letter to Government.
- Our #CapacityCrisis supporters include journalists, MPs, consultant surgeons and patients. Learn more about why they believe this campaign is so important.
- Sign up as a campaign supporter and take action to improve early diagnosis and access to best treatment and care across the UK.