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Ensure access to treatment and screening for all cancer patients during Covid-19

Submitted by Andrew Jenkinson on Monday 28th September 2020

Published on Tuesday 6th October 2020

Current status: Open

Open until: Tuesday 6th April 2021

Current Signatures: 37,065
(count is updated approximately hourly)

Relevant Departments

Tagged with

Access ~ Covid ~ Covid-19 ~ delayed ~ Ensure ~ Government ~ NHS ~ Re ~ The Government ~ The NHS ~ Thousands ~ Time ~ virus

Petition Action

Ensure access to treatment and screening for all cancer patients during Covid-19

Petition Details

I want the Government to make provisions, such as increased funding for the NHS, to ensure cancer patients still receive care including operations, scans, medications and chemotherapy during Covid-19. This should also ensure patients who need to be screened for potential cancers can access this.

Additional Information

There are thousands of people that a have had treatments and scans paused or delayed for a long time. There are people out there now that have had cancer regrowth and are even now on end-of-life care.

You can’t tell people you’re saving them from a virus by shielding then tell them they are having their treatments paused.


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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Tuesday 24th November 2020

The NHS is working to restore cancer services as quickly as possible. Cancer Alliances have been allocated £153m to continue delivering treatment in a Covid safe way.

The NHS is working hard to restore cancer services as quickly as possible. From March to September 2020, cancer treatment was maintained at 86% of pre-pandemic levels, and by September more urgent referrals were seen than the same time last year.

As set out in the third phase of the NHS response to COVID-19 our priorities for recovering cancer services are increasing urgent cancer referrals, reducing the number of patients waiting longer than 31 and 62 days for treatments or diagnostics, and ensuring capacity is in place for patients returning to the system in winter. This will be done alongside continued vigilance in light of any further COVID-19 surges.

A newly formed Cancer Recovery Taskforce, bringing together stakeholders and experts from across the cancer community, is overseeing the development of the cancer recovery plan, including considering any impact of a ‘second wave’ and review progress against objectives.

To ensure essential and urgent treatment for all cancers have continued throughout the response to the pandemic, COVID-protected surgical hubs have been established for cancer surgery across the country to keep often vulnerable cancer patients safe. This particularly protects cancer patients from immunocompromised infection. All 21 Cancer Alliances across England now have arrangements in place for cancer hubs.

On 3rd August 2020, NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I) announced that ‘COVID-friendly’ cancer treatments that are safer for patients during the pandemic will be expanded and extended through a £160 million initiative. The funding will pay for drugs that treat patients without having such a big impact on their immune system or offer other benefits such as fewer hospital visits.

NHSE/I has recently confirmed annual funding allocations of £153million for 2020-21 to the Cancer Alliances in England. 

NHSE/I did not provide direction at a national level to suspend NHS screening programmes in England during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, NHS Breast, Bowel and Cervical cancer screening services have been affected by a range of clinical and operational impacts during COVID-19, and as a result, some services at a local level rescheduled appointments and invitations.

NHSE/I is now working with service providers to ensure that services are safely restored to minimise any risk to individual patients. The backlog of people in cancer screening pathways is reducing, and there is a continued focus on sending out invites for routine screening appointments that were previously delayed.

Department of Health and Social Care

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