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NHS long term plan is a “fantastic opportunity” to reduce variation in cancer care

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 23 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5687
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The NHS long term plan is a unique opportunity to reduce variation in cancer care across the country and hold NHS and political leaders to account on their promises, experts have said.

At the Westminster Health Forum on cancer care on 17 September, speakers highlighted the vast variation in cancer mortality, as well as waiting and treatment times across England, and outlined the ways to improve patient outcomes.

They said that a combination of better diagnostics, staffing, and patient pathways, in addition to support for outlier providers, would enable the NHS to achieve the aims laid out in the long term plan.1

The plan, which was announced by health secretary Matt Hancock in January 2019, set two key goals in terms of cancer. The first was that by 2028 the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages one and two would rise from around half to three quarters of cancer patients. The second was that from 2028 55 000 more people each year would survive their cancer for at least five years following diagnosis.2

However, in 2018-19, …

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