Stevenage woman rallies MPs over campaign to tackle chronic shortage of cancer staff

Cancer Research UK ambassador Kim Breckon and Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland are standing shoulder

Cancer Research UK ambassador Kim Breckon and Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland are standing shoulder to shoulder to improve cancer care. - Credit: Archant

A woman from Stevenage has travelled to Westminster to rally MPs to support a new campaign calling on the Government to tackle the chronic shortage of NHS cancer staff.

Kim Breckon is a Cancer Research UK campaigns ambassador and is imploring MPs to back the charity’s new campaign - Shoulder to Shoulder Against Cancer.

With a growing and ageing population, cancer services are struggling to cope with the increased number of diagnoses.

This means more staff are urgently needed to keep up with the demand for life-saving tests and treatments, yet already one in 10 NHS diagnostic posts are unfilled.

In England, nearly half of all cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully.

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Cancer Research UK is urging the Government to commit to training and employing more NHS staff to diagnose and treat cancer earlier.

Kim said: “As someone who has lost colleagues, friends and family to cancer, I have the utmost respect for the wonderful work of the dedicated NHS staff who are on the frontline fighting cancer.

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“But, as the health service reaches its 70th birthday it’s facing unprecedented challenges.

“Too many people’s lives are already cut short by this devastating disease, so it’s vital the NHS is fit to deliver the best possible care for patients now and in the future. More cancer staff will save lives.”

Shaun Walsh, for Cancer Research UK, said: “Without increased investment in NHS staff, we could see the death toll from cancer rising, so we’re grateful for Kim’s support in helping to highlight the issue.

“We can prevent a crisis in the future by acting right now and investing in the early diagnostic workforce to help make our cancer services among the best in the world.”

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said: “I am signing [a letter to Theresa May asking for more NHS cancer staff] and am always happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with Kim to improve cancer care.

“I am also grateful she is asking Cancer Research UK to back our campaign for a satellite radiotherpay unit in Stevenage. I am committed to improving both patient outcomes and their experience by moving cancer services closer to home.”

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