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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year

Latest plans for NHS England staffing unlikely to improve cancer care

Brain Tumour Research recently joined 19 other leading cancer charities in signing a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP, as reported by Health Service Journal this week. The letter pertained to the Government’s draft proposals for cancer staffing ahead of the publication on the NHS England’s People Plan later this year.

Along with many across the cancer sector, we are concerned that government proposals for increasing the staffing of cancer care lack sufficient detail. NHS England is on the cusp of introducing new methods of treatment, increasingly based around a more personalised approach to medicine. However, the benefits of these new innovations will only be properly realised if the health system is appropriately staffed.

A shortage of staff often also results in clinicians having insufficient time to participate in research and clinical trials. It has been long been established that patients in research-active institutions have better outcomes and are more likely to benefit from earlier access to new treatments, technologies and approaches. It is therefore vital that those treating patients have the capacity to get involved in research.

Although there have been some improvements in workforce provision in recent years, there are notable shortages emerging, particularly for Clinical Nurse Specialists and diagnosticians. These shortfalls could now hinder many of the ambitions for cancer care in the NHS Long-Term Plan. 

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