Cancer care scandal and virus are both matters of life and death – The Yorkshire Post says

THERE was genuine empathy from Health Minister Jo Churchill when she responded to Yorkshire MPs about delays to breast cancer treatment – and testing – because it was her own experiences, fighting this cruel disease, that motivated her to enter Parliament in the first place.

Covid-related delays to breast cancer treatment are prompting fresh concerns from Yorkshire MPs.
Covid-related delays to breast cancer treatment are prompting fresh concerns from Yorkshire MPs.

It also means that she is uniquely qualified to oversee this aspect of health policy and should not be afraid to use her own status, as a victim and survivor, to tell her boss Matt Hancock – and also Boris Johnson – that the Government needs to redouble its effort to restore treatments, and tests, delayed by Covid.

The numbers are stark. Breast Cancer Now fears one million women have missed potentially lifesaving NHS screenings due to the pandemic, with Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan warning that they risk becoming “collateral damage” in the wider Covid struggle.

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Meanwhile Barnsley MP Stephanie Peacock says the Government’s own figures point to 10,000 women in her town alone now on a waiting list for routine checks – and that the number for South Yorkshire is closer to 30,000. She also cited a Public Health England report which revealed that all breast radiologists in this region are due to retire by 2025.

Jo Churchill is a Health Minister - and breast cancer survivor.,

In fairness, the Minister accepted, sincerely, that there “is still a way to go to meet current demand and improve on that rise for those who are waiting for treatment”. For now, many will take her at a word. But time is not on the Government’s side – or that of cancer patients. A start would be publishing data on waiting times each week to bring about the level of focus that this issue – one of life and death – requires.

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