This week, South Lakes MP Tim Farron and members of the Catch Up With Cancer campaign met Health Secretary Matt Hancock to urge him to restore and boost cancer services to prevent thousands of lives being lost.
Tim was joined by cross-party MPs Grahame Morris and Tonia Antoniazzi, clinical oncologist Professor Pat Price and Craig Russell whose daughter Kelly Smith died of bowel cancer in June after her treatment was delayed because of the COVID-19 crisis.
During the meeting, Tim asked for the Department for Health to back the campaign’s submission to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review which includes funding extra staffing and new satellite cancer centres including at the Westmorland General Hospital to cope with the huge backlog of cancer treatment.
Tim also encouraged the Health Secretary to establish a cancer taskforce to oversee a boost to cancer services.
Speaking after the meeting, Tim said: “I’m grateful to the Health Secretary for giving us the opportunity to represent the millions of cancer patients who feel like they’ve been ignored throughout this crisis.
“We left the Secretary of State in no doubt that he cannot allow a second wave of infections to lead to life-saving treatment being put on hold again and that through the use of clean hospital sites and a boost to radiotherapy services, it is very possible to safely treat patients during this pandemic.
“He responded positively to our proposals – however what we really need is urgency. Our campaign will now move up another gear to make sure that the Health Secretary’s warm words translate into action that will save lives.”