I recently attended a Parliamentary reception hosted by Macmillan Cancer Support to discuss their Save Our Support initiative, a campaign to ensure that the country has a fully funded and sustainable cancer workforce in order to support the millions of people living with cancer across the UK.
The NHS is currently facing a shortage of nurses which is having a damaging effect on frontline services and the care patients receive here in Reading East. There are more than 40,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS workforce and Government figures show that waiting times for cancer treatment and diagnosis are at record high levels. This is why I’m backing Macmillan’s campaign to ensure that my constituents have access to the fantastic nurse specialists that will support them through a very difficult time in their lives.
The most recent Macmillan Workforce Census found worrying trends within the NHS which showed a high rate of unfilled positions, an aging workforce and an increased number of cancer nurses working in more junior positions. More than two thirds of Cancer Nurse Specialists have said they are not getting the support they need from the NHS. That’s because the NHS is buckling under increased pressure.
At the moment, the hard truth is that there simply aren’t enough Cancer Nurse Specialists with the right skills to meet the needs of the growing cancer population which is set to reach 4million by 2030.
Ensuring the NHS gets the new and fully trained cancer workforce that it needs will still require further support from the Government and I look forward to seeing these comprehensive plans within the NHS People Plan which will be published this year.
I want my constituents within Reading East, to get the support they deserve from local cancer services. This is why I will continue to work with Macmillan Cancer Support on their campaign to ensure local people get the right support and would welcome hearing from more constituents living with cancer on the impact their diagnosis has had on them.