Continuing to deliver high quality cancer care

NHS staff have worked extremely hard to maintain cancer services throughout the pandemic.

Disruption to cancer services in January and February 2021 was significantly lower than during the peak in spring 2020, despite the significantly higher COVID hospitalisation rates.

381,500 people have started cancer treatment since the pandemic began (March 2020 -  June 2021), but some people we would have expected to start treatment have not yet come forward with symptoms.

Our highest priority remains identifying those people and getting them treated as quickly as possible.

We are seeing progress on this already thanks to initiatives like ‘Help Us Help You’ – referrals between March and June were at all-time record high levels.

We have three delivery priorities:

  • Recovering services
  • Improving operational performance
  • Delivering the Long Term Plan
‘Help us, help you’ campaign: Which encourages people to contact their GP practice if they have any worrying symptoms.
Investing £150 million in new diagnostic capacity: And accelerating the introduction of innovations such as capsule colon endoscopy, a pill sized camera that can diagnose cancer quickly.
Implementing rapid diagnostic centres (RDCs): To speed up the process of diagnosis. 91 rapid diagnostic centre pathways are live and from may 2020 –april 2021 they helped to diagnose 1,373 cancers.
New ways of working: Innovative approaches to medicines and surgery have been adopted to reduce risk and keep systems open and working as efficiently as possible.

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