In the time available I will focus, laser-like, on the issue I wish to raise, which is the mismanagement of cancer care. I declare my interest as vice-chair of the all-party groups on cancer and for radiotherapy. Covid has undoubtedly compounded the pressures on our NHS, but the problems in areas such as cancer care predate the pandemic—there is no doubt about that. Radiotherapy is a vital treatment option, which already plays a part in the treatment of about four out of every 10 cancers. It is highly cost-effective—a cure typically costs between £3,000 and £7,000—but its potential is being systematically overlooked, and there has been chronic underinvestment.

Ten months ago, the previous Secretary of State for Health and Social Care declared war on cancer, but we are still waiting for the weapons to fight that war effectively. We urgently need to improve treatment capacity in radiotherapy. As I have stated, a fifth of all radiotherapy machines are more than 10 years old and will need replacing before the end of the year.

We need a better approach to funding IT, technology and networking, as that could dramatically speed up treatment processes. New immunotherapy cancer treatments often work far better in combination with radiotherapy. I ask the Minister to commit to engaging with the all-party parliamentary group for radiotherapy and with leading clinicians to develop the potential of advanced radiotherapy treatment capacity and to bring about a step change in cancer outcomes.

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