Sajid Javid is to announce a call for evidence on a new 10-year Government plan to improve cancer care in England after 50,000 fewer diagnoses were made across the country during the pandemic.
The health secretary will reiterate promises to wage a “national war on cancer” in a speech presenting the proposals at the Francis Crick Institute on Friday.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the plan would aim to strengthen the cancer workforce and increase research into technology that will help detect the disease in its early stages.
It will also seek to address inequalities in health care across the country, including diagnosis times, and improve prevention by addressing known risk factors such as smoking.
The call for evidence is being used to inform a final strategy, expected later this year, which ministers hope will make England’s cancer care system ‘the best in Europe’.
It starts on Friday and lasts eight weeks. It is open to the public and seeks input from cancer patients, their families and NHS staff.
Mr Javid will call for a “search for a new vision” on how he can “lead the world in cancer care” when he unveils the plans on Friday.
“This plan will show how we take the lessons of the pandemic and apply them to improve cancer care over the next decade,” he is expected to say.
“It will take a far-reaching look at how we want cancer treatment to be in 2032 – 10 years from now. Let’s look at all stages, from prevention to diagnosis to treatment and vaccines.
“We want to hear opinions from near and far to help us shape this work. Please join us in helping fewer people suffer the heartache of losing a loved one to this wretched disease.”
This comes after 50,000 fewer cancer diagnoses have been made across the UK since the pandemic began, threatening an increase in advanced cases that are more difficult to treat.
The health secretary first announced he wanted to start a “war on cancer” in January when he told MPs the Covid-19 pandemic had exposed “huge health disparities in this country”.
“It is time to start a war on cancer and I am working on a new vision to radically improve outcomes for cancer patients across the UK and I will have more to say on that in due course,” he said.
Primary Care Minister Maria Caulfield said: “Half of us will develop cancer at some point in our lives and many more will need to support someone close to them who has it.
“We want to have the best cancer care in Europe and this call to evidence will help us develop a plan to achieve that. We want to hear from you – cancer patients, loved ones and NHS staff – to see how best we can move forward to provide better care and treatment.”
Cally Palmer, NHS National Cancer Director, said: “Despite the pandemic, and thanks to the tremendous efforts of our staff, cancer services continue to be a priority with well over two million screenings in the last year alone and tens of thousands of people who have started life-saving treatment every month .
“From one-stop shops for vital checks and revolutionary treatment options like proton beam therapy, we will go further and faster on our mission to save more lives and ensure England is the world leader in cancer care.”
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