Coronavirus has caused a huge backlog in cancer diagnosis, treatment and care.

Cancer charity Macmillan has started The Forgotten ‘C’ campaign in an effort to make sure cancer isn’t forgotten during or after the pandemic.

Macmillan want to see the following action:

  • Measures to tackle the diagnosis, treatment and care backlog (particularly among those with the greatest need), with published recovery plans and measures of success.
  • Reaffirmed commitments from UK Governments ensuring that restored cancer services – including new approaches – will be based on a personalised approach to care.
  • Prioritised investment in the cancer workforce and wider NHS infrastructure to cope with delivering personalised Covid-secure cancer services; and progress with comprehensive, funded plans for the healthcare workforce to meet current and projected demand.

In England, Macmillan are looking for a commitment from the government to make sure that they address the current and ongoing backlog in diagnosis, treatment and care, to make sure each person diagnosed with cancer has the personalised care they need and crucially, confirmation that the NHS will have the resources it needs to meet demand.

It goes without saying that there will be an increase in demand for cancer services in the coming months in order to deal with the deficit caused by coronavirus. The NHS are already under immense strain and working very hard in an unprecedented and difficult situation. On the 31 July 2020, NHS England sent a letter to all NHS Trusts which set out plans to restore full cancer services. NHS England stated that ‘systems should commission their Cancer Alliance to rapidly draw up delivery plans for September 2020 to March 2021’.  The aim of such plans being to reduce unmet need and reduce referral times to pre-pandemic levels, ensuring diagnostic capacity and restarting all cancer screening programmes.

There are huge numbers of people that are living with cancer and their treatment and care has been affected by coronavirus restrictions. Likewise, there are large numbers awaiting diagnostic testing and those that may have delayed seeking initial medical attention because of the pandemic itself. It is so important that those people receive the right care, both physical and emotional and that there is a proper, workable plan in place to deal with what is to come in terms of increasing cancer care needs. Everyone is aware of the immense pressure the NHS are under and thankful for their relentless work, however, Macmillan have reminded cancer patients that they ‘are not a burden’ and they should be receiving the right care, personalised to them.

We are now in the second wave of the pandemic and cancer should not be forgotten. Pressure is on the government to guarantee that cancer staff and resources will not be redeployed during the second wave and the pressures of winter.

Know Your Rights

Macmillan has provided a useful guide on their website ‘Coronavirus and Cancer, Know your Rights..’; there is a separate guide for those based in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. You can also sign up as a campaigner to help Macmillan ‘make sure cancer doesn’t become the forgotten ‘C’.’

If you would like legal advice regarding your cancer care, please do not hesitate to contact our team on 0845 287 0939 or send us a message.