Thank you for contacting me about cancer treatment during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The NHS is open for business and anyone who needs care and treatment should continue to access it as and when they need it, especially when delays could impose both an immediate and a long-term risk to health.
I know that the Government is absolutely committed to supporting the NHS recovery from COVID-19, recognises the need to extend the record funding already provided. The elective backlog will be tackled with the biggest catch-up programme in the NHS's history and I am reassured that cancer patients will continue to be prioritised. I especially welcome the doubling of spending this year, to £2 billion, to start this important work. Additionally, more than £8 billion will be spent in the following three years from 2022-23 to 2024-25.
Cancer patients will absolutely benefit from these commitments, which could deliver the equivalent of around nine million more checks, scans and procedures. It will also mean the NHS in England can aim to deliver around 30 per cent more elective activity by 2024-25 than it did before the pandemic.
A further £325 million will be directed to NHS diagnostics, which will help to ensure that cancer patients can access the care that they need as safely and quickly as possible.
I warmly welcome the provision of £260 million in the Spending Review 2020 to continue to increase the NHS workforce and support commitments made in the Cancer Workforce Plan, published by Health Education England (HEE) in 2017. In 2020/21, HEE is prioritising the training of 400 clinical endoscopists and 450 reporting radiographers. Training grants are being offered for 250 nurses to become cancer nurse specialists and 100 chemotherapy nurses, training 58 biomedical scientists, developing an advanced clinical practice qualification in oncology and extending cancer support-worker training.
I have ensured colleagues at HM Treasury are aware of constituent suggestions for the Spending Review taking place this year. While I am regrettably not in a position to pre-empt the conclusions of the review, I am assured by colleagues that they are aware of the policy suggestions you raised.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.