An NHS England press release, published on Christmas Eve, reports that the changes made to improve cancer care following the recommendations made in the Cancer Strategy, have resulted in over 2,000 more people surviving cancer in 2017. In addition, survival rates have never been higher and the gap between the best and the worst areas is also closing. Areas with historically lower cancer survival rates are closing or have caught up with average survival rates.
Cally Palmer, National Director for Cancer at NHS England, said: “The NHS is making very significant progress in cancer care, improving survival and quality of life for all those affected by cancer as the latest figures demonstrate. We are determined to do more to ensure that the NHS is among the very best in the world in preventing cancer, ensuring earlier diagnosis and access to leading edge treatment and care for all patients.”
Highlights of progress made over the last year include:
- Investment of £200m over two years to achieve earlier diagnosis and improve quality of life for patients.
- Piloting a new faster diagnosis standard to ensure that patients find out within 28 days if they have cancer.
- 23 NHS Trusts received new and upgraded radiotherapy machines, with 50 more in at least 34 hospitals, following an investment of £130m for new technology and equipment.
- Nine multidisciplinary diagnostic centres are working to achieve faster diagnosis for patients.
- A new Be Clear on Cancer campaign pilot was launched in February 2017 in East and West Midlands to encourage early diagnosis of cancer.
- Access to endoscopy services will be improved by training more non-medical endoscopists – on track to meet the target of achieving 200 new trainees by the end of the 2018.
- More new cancer drugs have been made available through the Cancer Drugs Fund, benefiting over 15,000 patients since July 2016.
- The National Cancer Patient Experience survey shows continuing positive patient experiences of care overall.
- In 2000, the gap in 1-year-survival between the top and bottom CCG was 17.1 percentage points – in 2015, it was 10.6 percentage points.