MPs’ cancer warning shows there is 'not a moment to lose' in tackling crisis

Rutherford Health plc, a leading independent cancer treatment and diagnostic provider, said today the call by 50 cross-party MPs for the Prime Minister to address the cancer backlog as a matter of urgency demonstrates there is ‘not a moment to lose’ in tackling the crisis.

Professor Karol Sikora, chief medical officer at Rutherford Health and former head of the WHO’s cancer programme, spoke in support of the letter sent by 50 cross-party MPs and peers.

Government figures show that waiting times for cancer care in England today are the longest on record.

Professor Sikora said: “Addressing the cancer backlog has been on the public health agenda for far too long and we need the government to act now. All this talk of the government’s war on cancer needs to be driven by tangible and realistic solutions.”

To help the government tackle the cancer backlog, Rutherford Health, which operates a network of cancer and diagnostic centres in the UK, has offered its treatment and diagnostic services to the National Health Service on a not-for-profit basis through its ‘Cancer Recovery Contract’ proposal. The offer of services includes MRI and CT scans, ultrasound services, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and proton beam therapy.

Professor Sikora added: “Time is not on our side and we have an opportunity to start tackling this immediately.  We offered the NHS access to our treatment and diagnostic services on a not-for-profit basis back in December which could have the potential to diagnose and treat thousands of patients. There have been some extremely encouraging noises from government, but so far the offer has not been taken up.

“We have significant capacity at our cancer centres across the country and we can make it immediately available to the NHS, making a real difference to patients and those who have unfortunately had to wait too long to be diagnosed. There is a real opportunity for the NHS and the independent sector to work together to get to grips with this backlog right away.”