Pauline Latham – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Pauline Latham on 2016-01-11.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for colonoscopy to detect bowel cancer.

Jane Ellison

Helping more people survive cancer is a key priority for this Government.

We expect the National Health Service to look urgently at any dips in local performance and take action to make sure all patients get access to cancer treatment as quickly as possible. NHS England has set up a taskforce to look at what should be done to ensure cancer waiting times standards are met.

Specifically for colonoscopy for bowel cancer, the NHS has committed to train an extra 250 gastroenterologists by 2020. In addition, Health Education England has pledged to fund the training of 200 non-medical endoscopists to significantly increase endoscopy capacity in England. The first cohort will begin training at the end of January 2016. NHS England’s Sustainable Improvement Team (formerly NHS Improving Quality) is working intensively with trusts that have significant endoscopy waiting lists, in order to improve performance. The learning from this will be shared widely.NHS England is also exploring ways to improve endoscopy performance through pricing changes.