This report by the Health and Social Care Commons Select Committee examines why cancer outcomes in England remain behind other comparable countries. For example, 58.9% of people in England diagnosed with colon cancer will live for five years or more, compared to 66.8% in Canada and 70.8% in Australia.
The report identifies key issues in early diagnosis, access to treatment, variation in services and research and innovation, and makes recommendations aimed at improving cancer survival rates in England.
The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England should:
- develop specific plan to address gaps in diagnostic workforce, short-term and long-term shortages in key professions and level of investment required to deliver sustainable long-term increases.
- publish a detailed analysis of the extent of the cancer backlog to support the delivery of the elective care recovery plan.
- set out an estimate of what level of additional capacity in NHS cancer services will be needed to address the backlog in cancer services and treatment by March 2023.
- set out an action plan to ensure that NHS cancer services are able to provide this additional capacity above normal levels.
The new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities should conduct a rapid review of existing evidence of the impact of demographic factors on cancer outcomes and commits to developing a joint strategy with NHS England to address disparities in outcomes.