Creating Safe Spaces for Cancer Services

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Our community of campaigners save lives through political action every day. Every action they take brings us one step closer to beating cancer. 


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Cancer didn’t stop because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so neither did our cancer campaigners

At the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, people across the UK had their life-saving cancer tests and treatments cancelled or delays. Its estimated that 38,000 fewer people received vital surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy and a third of patients surveyed in July 2020 told us that COVID-19 has impacted their cancer treatment. This disruption was partially due to there not being enough safe spaces in hospitals, with steps to protect patients from COVID-19 exposure, for cancer services to continue. The cancellations and disruption left many cancer patients feeling frustrated, angry and upset.

It was the UK and devolved governments’ responsibility to keep cancer services operating safely during this time. In May 2020, we launched a survey to find out what was most important to you. You told us that COVID-protected spaces and testing should be a priority, so we launched the urgent campaign: ‘Safe Spaces for Cancer Services’.

You united with us across the UK

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Nearly 4,000 of you acted to secure safe spaces for cancer services by writing to your politicians. Your impact was felt truly UK-wide as all MSs in Wales were contacted, 98% of MPs in England were contacted, 96% of MSPs in Scotland and 67% of MLAs in Northern Ireland were contacted. Thank you so much for all your support. As a result, you galvanised politicians across all nations to support the campaign by asking them to submit questions to their political leaders, speak in debates and Committee sessions on behalf of CRUK and write to their respective governments.

More safe spaces for cancer services were secured

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Following a national push, we saw hospitals across the UK put in place necessary measures to protect cancer care. Announcements by Governments across the UK nations varied but thanks in part to your support, we saw important changes made. This included the NHS setting up ‘COVID green sites’ as safe spaces to provide cancer treatments, cancer services being made a priority in local and national recovery plans and staff and patients having access to covid-19 testing.


Looking ahead

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the NHS was already stretched. More than ever, we need to campaign to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. UK cancer survival lags behind other similar countries and cancer waiting times haven’t been met since 2019. It’s the UK and devolved governments’ responsibility to prioritise cancer and to ensure that services recover.Join us and make sure this happens.

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