Plans for £200m NHS England cancer investment announced

In collaboration with the Press Association

Spending plans for new investment in NHS radiotherapy machines and £200m to improve local cancer services in England have been announced.

NHS England’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, has announced the first hospitals to benefit from the major national investment in radiotherapy machines, alongside £200m of funding over two years. 

"The earlier we diagnose and treat cancer, the better the chance of survival. But nearly half of all UK patients are diagnosed when their cancer is at a later stage, with variation across the country" - Emma Greenwood, Cancer Research UK

Mr Stevens said the money would be used in England to increase efforts in diagnosing cancers earlier and support plans to help people live with and beyond cancer. 

Following the recent announcement that £130m will be invested in new radiotherapy machines, Stevens also unveiled 15 hospitals that will be the first to have the latest machines installed.

The sites are:

  • North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust 
  • The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust 
  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
  • Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
  • University Hospital  Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
  • Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
  • Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Stevens said the locations for the new machines had been selected based on where the need was greatest.

Emma Greenwood, Cancer Research UK's director of policy and public affairs, welcomed the “vital investment to transform patient care across the country”. 

Stevens said the £200m fund hopes to encourage local areas to find new ways to diagnose cancer earlier, improve support for those living with cancer, and ensure each patient gets the right care for them. 

The latest data show national one-year survival for all cancers has risen to 70.4%, while survival for breast, colorectal and lung cancer individually have also risen. 

The variation in survival between different parts of the country has also shrunk, according to the latest figures. 

“The earlier we diagnose and treat cancer, the better the chance of survival. But nearly half of all UK patients are diagnosed when their cancer is at a later stage, with variation across the country,” said Greenwood.

“This transformation funding will help improve diagnostic services, enabling patients to benefit from the latest treatments as early as possible.” 

But Greenwood added that it is important to use this investment to tackle staff issues within diagnostic services in the NHS.

“We urge the NHS to ensure that a significant part of this investment is targeted to addressing staff shortages, as our recent research has shown we need a better equipped diagnostic workforce to face the challenge of increasing incidence.”

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