Basingstoke’s local MP, Maria Miller, is backing a life-saving appeal from Cancer Research UK for more NHS cancer staff. Maria joined local campaigner, Effie Grant in Westminster at the launch of the charity’s new campaign - ‘Shoulder to Shoulder Against Cancer’.

It encourages everyone to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS by calling on the UK Government to tackle the shortage of staff who diagnose and treat the disease. For 70 years the NHS has been at the forefront of fighting cancer, but with a growing and ageing population cancer services struggle to cope with the increased number of diagnoses. More staff are needed to keep up with the demand for life-saving tests and treatments. Currently 1 in 10 NHS diagnostic posts unfilled.

In the UK, cancer survival rates are still lagging behind the best in Europe and in England nearly half of all cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully. Cancer Research UK is now urging the UK Government to commit to training and employing more NHS staff to diagnose and treat cancer earlier.

Maria said: “More people are surviving cancer than ever before, thanks to the fantastic work of the NHS staff who turn breakthroughs in research into vital tests and treatments. But as the health service reaches its 70th birthday, it’s facing unprecedented challenges.

Every year, around 1,100 people are diagnosed with cancer in Basingstoke CCG area. With this number set to rise, it’s vital that we have an NHS which is fit to deliver world-class care for all cancer patients now and in the future. That’s why I’m backing Cancer Research UK’s call to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer, so that everyone has the best possible chance of surviving this devastating disease.”

Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is for this to be 3 in 4 by 2034.

To help save more lives investment is needed in key professions, including radiographers and radiologists who carry out and interpret scans such as MRIs, endoscopists who look inside the body by inserting a tiny camera and pathologists who look for abnormal cells, as well as oncologists (cancer specialists), nurses and surgeons.

During the event, Maria, met with constituent and Cancer Campaigns Ambassador, Effie Grant who is committed to the cause.

Effie said, “Losing a loved one to cancer continues to be an unnecessary everyday occurrence. I speak from experience having felt the impact cancer can have on families. I have the utmost of respect for the wonderful work our dedicated NHS staff conduct fighting on the frontline to beat cancer. 

We know they’re under enormous strain and standing shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer will go farther to help prevent a future crisis.

I invite all MPs and all of you to support this vitally crucial campaign because by our actions now to encourage early diagnosis we can achieve 3 in 4 by 2034 in the bid to beat cancer sooner and place our cancer services amongst the best in the world.” 

To take action visit cruk.org/shouldertoshoulder or join the conversation on twitter #ShouldertoShoulder.