The Government is considering setting a tougher cancer diagnostic target as part of its declared ‘war on cancer’, HSJ has been told.
Sajid Javid announced a “war on cancer” and launched a call for evidence on what could be done to improve services in February.
HSJ understands one of the measures being considered is increasing the existing target for cancer diagnosis, set in the 2019 NHS long-term plan.
The current target committed the service to diagnosing 75% of cancers at stages one and two by 2028.
At present, performance is around 54% and late stage diagnosis is a key factor behind the UK’s poor performance on cancer mortality, compared with other wealthy nations.
Cancer Research UK has asked for government, as part of the latest consultation, to set a target of at most 20% diagnosed at stage three and four – effectively, 80% or more at stages one and two – by 2032.
The Royal College of Radiologists pointed out in February that there was a shortfall of nearly 2,000 consultant radiologists and 20% fewer consultant oncologists to meet the existing gaps.
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Source: HSJ, 13 May 2022