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A shared vision for a strategic review of the cancer workforce

The NHS workforce is vital to the diagnosis, treatment and care of the three million people with cancer in the UK. From their first GP appointment or screening invite to getting diagnostic tests and treatment, and ongoing support and care, patients rely on dedicated specialist staff across the NHS. Without their tireless work, we would not have seen such progress in cancer outcomes.

Yet, the last decade has seen chronic underinvestment and a failure to implement effective planning on workforce education, training, recruitment and retention – leaving the health service facing staff shortages. There are shortages across almost every role connected to cancer from the bedside to the lab.

The publication of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan is a step in the right direction, but we have concerns it does not sufficiently address the scale of the challenge on recruitment or retention or provide the long-term funding needed to see healthcare professionals through their whole career.

We stand ready to work with the UK Government and NHS England to ensure that the plan is implemented and updated to reflect changing patient needs, and work together towards a cancer-specific workforce strategy.

We’re uniquely placed to bring together experts to develop practical policy proposals to deliver real change for people. That’s why, over the course of 2023, we will be developing a long-term manifesto to improve cancer research and care in the UK, setting out how we think workforce planning needs to change.  

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