Carol Monaghan MP has celebrated the 70th birthday of the NHS at a reception held by Macmillan Cancer Support, calling it ‘a precious asset we cannot afford to lose’.
The reception, held at Speaker’s House, provided a unique opportunity to mark the milestone and celebrate Macmillan’s role in supporting the NHS throughout its history, bringing together parliamentarians, health and care professionals, people living with cancer and cancer charities not only to celebrate the NHS turning 70, but also to discuss the future challenges facing the NHS.
Cancer services have come a long way over the past ten years, with cancer mortality rates down 11 per cent. However, with an expected 25 per cent increase in the number of people diagnosed with cancer by 2027, more needs to be done.
Over the next five years, the Scottish Government will implement the new Cancer Strategy, investing £100 million to improve the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This will include the continuation and expansion of the Detect Cancer Early programme, investment in radiotherapy equipment and staff, regular cancer patient experience surveys, and continued action to realise the ambition that, by 2050, no-one should die from breast cancer.
The Scottish government are also making targeted improvements to urological and colorectal services, to increase capacity in response to rising demand. A review of urological services is being undertaken and we are examining a new diagnostic test for colorectal cancer for a national roll-out.
Carol Monaghan MP said:
“70 years of the NHS is a significant and historic milestone for a precious asset we cannot afford to lose.
I was delighted to attend Macmillan’s event, which presented us with an opportunity both to reflect on the amazing work that the NHS does and celebrate the momentous and successful partnership between Macmillan and our most cherished public service.
“Being able to share in the celebrations and share Macmillan’s birthday message was important, but what was significant was the opportunity to speak about the challenges which lie ahead for the NHS and how best to deal with them.
“This is a watershed moment for our NHS and for the future of cancer care across the UK. Additional funding is a step in the right direction, but what is so important is using the resources available in the most effective way and create a health system able to effectively support people living with cancer at the time they most need it.”
Following the government’s funding announcement, Macmillan set out a list of principles as a foundation on which they believe the future settlement and direction of the health system can be built to help future proof cancer care, including: increasing the size of the workforce, delivering personalised and coordinated services and ensuring equality within care services.
Commenting, Lynda Thomas, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support said:
“Macmillan’s purpose is to help everyone with cancer live life as fully as they can and I’m glad we have been able to do this together with the NHS in our long history of working side by side.
“Although there have been advances in cancer treatments and survival during the NHS’s 70-year history, the number of people receiving a cancer diagnosis and needing our support is increasing.
For this reason, we have welcomed the government’s long-term funding settlement for the NHS. I hope the government grasps this opportunity to future-proof cancer care for the millions of people living with the disease.”