Below is the text of the comments made by Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on 11 June 2020.
These figures should ring alarm bells for ministers – the drop-in urgent referrals suggests that people are either finding it difficult to access services or are being put off seeing a doctor because of the virus.
Early diagnosis is key to better treatment and saving lives with cancer, so the effects of not being seen early could be devastating. Ministers urgently need to prepare for the backlog of care that is building up as a result of the pandemic.
We need a new resourced plan for the NHS; a strategy that enables us to move between the competing demands of the Covid-19 pandemic and non-Covid related care in the months and years ahead.