Thank you for contacting me about additional support for radiotherapy and other cancer treatments in the upcoming Government Spending Review. I have read your email carefully and have noted the key points that you make.
I can assure you that the Government takes this issue very seriously and has made great efforts to improve cancer services. The NHS says that it is continuing to provide some of the world’s best cancer care despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and I am pressing our local NHS to prove and to ensure that this is the case here in Surrey.
I welcome the Government's stated aim to see three quarters of all cancers detected at an early stage by 2028. The plan will overhaul screening programmes, provide new investment in state of the art technology to transform the process of diagnosis, and boost research and innovation. This is part of the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP), published in January 2019, and forms part of how the Government will achieve its ambition to see 55,000 more people surviving cancer for five years in England each year from 2028.
You will be pleased to know that one of the key measures outlined in the LTP is safer and more precise treatment, including advanced radiotherapy techniques and immunotherapies to continue to support improvements in survival rates. This will be supported by a £130 million upgrade of radiotherapy machines across England, as well as commissioning the NHS new state-of-the-art Proton Beam facilities in London and Manchester.
In addition, the LTP commits to reforms to the specialised commissioning payments for radiotherapy hypofractionation to support further equipment upgrades. Faster, smarter and effective radiotherapy, supported by greater networking of specialised expertise, will mean more patients are offered curative treatment, with fewer side effects and shorter treatment times.
I hope that this provides reassurance that providing adequate support for a widely used and effective treatment for cancer is absolutely a priority for the Department of Health and Social Care and across the NHS.
I have spoken with colleagues at HM Treasury about your suggestions for the Spending Review taking place this year. Although I am regrettably not in a position to pre-empt their conclusions, I am, however, assured by my ministerial colleagues that they are aware of the policy suggestions you have raised.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking