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02.07.19

Health secretary Matt Hancock reveals framework for improving cancer care

Health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, revealed how the NHS will look to deliver on its commitments to improve early detection of cancer, with monitoring one-year survival playing a central role.

The NHS Long Term Plan laid out ambitious plans for three quarters of all cancers to be detected at an early stage and 55,000 more people surviving cancer for five years, each year, by 2028.

READ MORE: Cancer and mental health to become the focus of NHS funding

The Implementation Framework, agreed by the NHS and presented in Parliament today, provides a blueprint for how this will be achieved at a local level. The one-year metric will be used to measure progress.

Steps in the framework include:

  • a radical overhaul of screening programmes
  • new state-of-the-art technology to make diagnosis faster and more accurate
  • more investment in research and innovation
  • the roll-out of new Rapid Diagnostic Centres across the country, building on the success of a pilot scheme with Cancer Research UK
  • NHS England extending lung health checks, targeting areas with the lowest survival rates
  • Health Education England increasing the cancer workforce, which will lead to 400 clinical endoscopists and 300 reporting radiographers by 2021

The framework document sets out the steps in which each of the 300 commitments in the Long Term Plan will be delivered – including the 20 headline commitments – as well as how government will monitor and support systems at a local level.

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Mr Hancock stressed that, since 2010, cancer survival had improved year-on-year but historically the country’s survival rates have lagged behind the best performing countries in Europe.

He explained: “Early detection and diagnosis are essential to improving a person’s chance of survival from cancer.

READ MORE: NHS Clinical Commissioners respond to NHS Implementation Framework

“In our Long Term Plan for the NHS, we set out a clear ambition to resolve [the gap with other European countries] – this framework sets out a step-by-step blueprint for local leaders to make that a reality.

“I am determined that our cancer care will not be just good enough, but truly world-class and today I have set out how we will do just that.”

Image credit: Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire / PA Images

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