Re-starting Cancer Treatments

Thank you for contacting me about cancer treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a practicing NHS doctor, I have a unique insight into the strain the COVID-19 pandemic has put on our health services.  I agree that we must work hard to ensure that everyone who needs treatment is able to access it.  Therefore, I was delighted when, on 27 April, my colleague the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced the restoration of NHS services, starting with the most urgent, like cancer care and mental health support.

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 continuation of cancer services is absolutely vital in many cases, which is why I welcome that restarting cancer care in a safe manner has been a priority for the NHS and for the Government.  I welcome that, due to covid-19, the 21 cancer alliances in England have established hubs to ensure dedicated cancer care away from hospitals dealing with the virus.

Any changes to treatment protocol to ensure patients are treated safely should be carried out in full consultation with patients, to ensure that they fully understand the reasoning behind any changes made in line with guidance from clinical experts. 

With regard to the EDM you mention, although EDMs are well-intentioned and are often pursuant of noble aims, they very rarely end up being debated in the House or becoming law due to a number of reasons, mainly due to the severe limitations on time for private business in Parliament and not enough Members being present to debate them due to time pressures in their constituencies.  Therefore, I do not ordinarily sign EDMs.  I will, however, ensure the the Department of Health and Social Care are aware of your concerns.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.