Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has raised concerns over a so-called ‘postcode lottery’ in cancer care.
Gwynne, who also serves as Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, has commented on new analysis that lays bare the extent of regional inequalities in cancer treatment with more than 1-in-5 patients with cancerous tumours waiting longer than two months to have them removed in some parts of England.
In Greater Manchester, 38.5% of cancer patients are waiting longer than two months for chemotherapy treatment. In the Thames Valley, the same figure sits at 19.9%.
The analysis also reveals that patients in more deprived parts of the country are more likely to have their cancer diagnosed late, with 47% of cancer patients in the most deprived communities being diagnosed late, compared to 39% in the least deprived. An estimated 1,857 cancer patients in the most deprived communities were diagnosed late in March of this year, and more than 9,800 across England.
So far in 2023, more than 95,000 people with an urgent referral for suspected cancer have had to wait more than two weeks to see a consultant. The NHS target was that 93% of patients should be seen within 2 weeks, until the target was scrapped last week. 2022/23 was the worst year on record against this target.
Labour has made clearing the cancer backlogs and improving survival rates through early diagnosis a core part of its mission to build an NHS fit for the future.
Andrew Gwynne MP, Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, said:
“Receiving the fast and quality cancer care should not depend on your postcode.
“13 years of Conservative mismanagement of the NHS has left the health service unable to be there for too many people when they need it.
“Getting cancer patients treated on time again will be a mission of the next Labour government.”