(Left to Right) Tim Farron MP, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and Grahame Morris MP. Others participated virtually.
(Left to Right) Tim Farron MP, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and Grahame Morris MP. Others participated virtually.

Grahame Morris MP and other representatives from the APPG for Radiotherapy, Radiotherapy4Life, Action Radiotherapy and Catch Up With Cancer campaign met with Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday evening, to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer services, and how radiotherapy could be instrumental in addressing the backlog.

Figures suggest that the full cumulative cancer backlog could be over 100,000 extra cancer patients once undiagnosed and relapsed cancer patients are accounted for. It would take services 6 months working at 135% of pre-COVID capacity to catch up.

Grahame was joined by Tim Farron MP, who chairs the APPG for Radiotherapy, Tonia Antoniazzi MP, who chairs the APPG on Cancer, and other Catch Up With Cancer campaigners including Professor Pat Price from Radiotherapy4Life, and Craig Russell, who tragically lost his daughter Kelly Smith after her chemotherapy was stopped as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Easington MP Grahame Morris said, ‘I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the Health Secretary as part of a delegation from the APPG for Radiotherapy and the charities Radiotherapy4Life and Action Radiotherapy to highlight to Matt Hancock the pressing need to tackle the growing cancer backlog.

We asked that the Health Secretary support the Radiotherapy community’s submission to the Treasury’s Comprehensive Spending Review asking for sufficient funding to modernise and improve radiotherapy provision across the country; that the Health Secretary consider a dedicated Task Force for Radiotherapy – alongside the existing Cancer Task Force – to drive the implementation of a 6-point plan to unleash the full potential of the sector, and finally if he would agree to have his officials meet with clinical experts from the radiotherapy community to compare figures on the cancer backlog to gain a better understanding of the extent of the backlog.

The APPG and Catch Up With Cancer campaign will continue to follow up on these asks and press for urgent action to address the cancer treatment backlog, especially given that Covid-19 cases are on the rise once more in the second wave of the pandemic.’

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