Read the open letter we are co-signatories on, with a raft of other cancer charities under the the banner One Cancer Voice, to the Secretary of State on the final detail of the forthcoming 10-Year Cancer Plan, urgeing to ensure the plan meets the essential tests set out in our submission as being essential to deliver on your ambition of having the best cancer care in Europe.
Dear Secretary of State
As you consider the final detail of the forthcoming 10-Year Cancer Plan, we are writing, with One Cancer Voice, to urge you to ensure the plan meets the essential tests we set out in our submission as being essential to deliver on your ambition of having the best cancer care in Europe. The plan must include robust, fully costed and funded plans to deliver on its ambitions, and set out how it will address
shortages in workforce and equipment – key hurdles that have hindered previous commitments and strategies.
This 10-Year Cancer Plan could not be coming at a more important time for people affected by cancer in England. As you know, the devastating impact of the pandemic on cancer services continues to be felt, and growing waits for care stubbornly persist. Worrying new survey data from Cancer Research UK shows that 3 in 4 (75%) adults in the UK don’t think the NHS has enough staff or equipment to deal with cancer. With rising cancer incidence over the 10 years of this Plan, the challenge is only set to grow – meaning tangible, decisive action is needed now.
We are incredibly grateful for your personal commitment to this plan, and have welcomed the engagement from you and your officials as the plan has been developed. In that spirit of constructive engagement, we believe it is important to reiterate the key tests to which the whole cancer community will hold this 10-Year Cancer Plan. These include:
- Fully planned, costed and funded: The power to truly transform the outcomes for people affected by cancer by 2032 is in your hands. To reach that potential, this plan must be visionary and set bold and stretching targets to achieve what really matters to people affected by cancer – preventing more cancers, diagnosing more cancers earlier and offering the best treatment and care tailored to the needs of every patient. In doing so you will also have the opportunity to deliver on your ambition to tackle health inequalities and truly harness the power of the UK’s world beating research and innovation to improve outcomes and experience. Ambition and vision must be underpinned by a clear, fully costed and funded plan for how we will get there. That means publicly announced objectives for how you will transform cancer outcomes and experience with timelines for implementation for each part of the plan, along with associated costing and funding.
- No more shortages in the cancer workforce: Fundamentally, without investment in growing the cancer workforce to meet demand, to tackle backlogs, make more time for patients and drive innovation in cancer services the plan will not have the confidence of the cancer community. The plan must deliver on the existing Ministerial commitment that “the forthcoming 10-Year Cancer Plan will also ensure we have the right workforce in place.” That cannot be achieved without robust workforce modelling for the lifetime of the plan, matched by committed investment for at least the lifetime of the current Spending Review period.
- Match ambition with accountability: The whole cancer community wants to see this plan succeed. To support you to deliver the ambitions of the upcoming plan, we need a transparent accountability framework with clear political leadership and annual assessment of progress. For accountability to be meaningful, it must include independent governance that involves the whole cancer community
including cancer charities and people affected by cancer. Underpinning these three key measures is a more detailed set of ten important tests, developed by our One Cancer Voice coalition. We have shared these with you previously and they serve as the cancer
community’s collective priorities for this strategy.
Right now, you have the opportunity to help bring forward a future where people affected by cancer in England have truly world leading cancer outcomes and experience. If the 10-Year Cancer Plan can meet these tests, we believe you will have taken the first great stride towards this. But the plan must meet these tests if it is to have the full support, belief and backing of the wider cancer community. Our
collective response will be led by whether or not these tests are met.
Read the full list of signatories HERE