Jonathan Ashworth – 2020 Comments on Cancer Screening Catch-Up

The comments made by Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on 28 September 2020.

Finding out you have cancer from a routine screening is already a scary thing to go through without the added anxiety of having to wait for months to start treatment.

Under normal circumstances a drop in the number of people having to have cancer treatment would be positive, but given what we know has happened over the pandemic it instead looks like people are having trouble accessing screening altogether. It’s especially worrying because we know that early diagnosis and treatment is key to surviving cancer.

Ministers tell us the NHS has ‘coped’ through the Covid-19 peak but that was on the back of cancelled operations, delayed scans and diagnostic tests.

Estimates suggest two million people are waiting for cancer screening, tests or treatment and that 1600 cases of cancer are currently left undiagnosed every month.

It’s now urgent ministers bring forward a plan to tackle the backlog in non Covid-19 care.