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Government rejects MPs’ warning on early cancer diagnosis

13 June 2022

The Health and Social Care Committee has published the Government Response to its report on Cancer services.

The Committee’s report,published in April, found there was a real risk that gains in cancer survival would reverse without significant additional efforts. MPs did not believe the NHS was on track to meet the Government’s 75% early diagnosis target by 2028. The Report concluded neither earlier diagnosis nor additional prompt cancer treatment would be possible without addressing gaps in the cancer workforce, but MPs found little evidence of a serious effort to do this.

The Government Responsepublished today, said it was ‘premature’ for the Committee to suggest that progress on early cancer diagnosis was ‘off track’.

Chair's comment

Health and Social Care Committee Chair Jeremy Hunt said:

“Earlier cancer diagnosis is the key to improving overall survival rates. Without wholesale improvement, we do not believe that the NHS is on track to reach the government’s target on this and so it is deeply concerning that Ministers label our warning as premature.

“For this ambition to be met, urgent increases are needed to plug critical gaps in the cancer workforce. Instead of a detailed plan to address these shortages, we are offered a ‘new vision for how we will lead the world in cancer care’. These are simply words; the government cannot tell us how or when a single extra oncologist will be recruited.”

Further information

Image credit: PA