Early Diagnosis Workforce

A campaign to take action on NHS staff shortages in England

Nurse setting up MRI scan for patient

What is the campaign about?

Early diagnosis could help thousands more survive their cancer. Every year more people are referred for diagnostic tests and services are struggling to keep up with the growing demand. Cancer patients in England are being let down. The Government needs to train and employ more NHS staff to diagnose cancer earlier.

Find out how you can stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer.

Join the campaign

The campaign so far

Over 6,000 campaigners have already taken action in this campaign and on December 5, the Government revealed the first ever cancer workforce plan. This a great success, and a step in the right direction. But there is still more to be done.

  • The earlier a cancer is diagnosed the more likely it is to be treated successfully. Look at bowel cancer for example: when found at an early stage, 9 in 10 people will survive. But when diagnosed later, only 1 in 10 people will survive.
  • Just over half of people are diagnosed early in England. We can do so much better.
  • Right now, over 1 in 10 NHS diagnostic posts are unfilled and thousands more staff will be needed in the future. These skilled NHS staff are vital to carry out cancer tests.

Take action

The Government’s new cancer workforce plan recognises the importance of early diagnosis. It promises nearly 4,000 extra NHS staff to be in place by 2021 - crucial to help more people get the cancer tests they need. But there’s only 3 years to do it, and no new money - it’s going to be a challenge.

Health Education England is developing a long-term workforce plan for England, which we’re monitoring. At the same time, the Government is developing a long-term plan for the NHS.

Right now, it is vital they get the message that improving cancer outcomes, through a focus on the early diagnosis cancer workforce, must be a priority.

In June, we launched our new campaign asking the Government to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer .

Find out more

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