John Baron MP opens ‘Britain Against Cancer’ conference and highlights ‘inconvenient truth’

December 6, 2016
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MP says NHS must focus more on outcome indicators if it is to close the gap with international survival rate averages

This morning John Baron MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer (APPGC), opened the annual ‘Britain Against Cancer’ (BAC) conference. One of the UK’s largest one-day cancer conferences, BAC brings together nearly 500 attendees from across the cancer community including NHS representatives, clinicians, patients, Parliamentarians, charities, and commercial organisations.

In his opening speech, John said,

“It remains an inconvenient truth that we continue to fail to close the gap with international survival rate averages. To achieve this, we need a reappraisal of the value of outcome indicators versus process targets. Over the 15 years I have been in Parliament, the NHS has had no end of processes instigated. In any hard-pressed healthcare system, pushing on one set of process targets, such as the two-week wait, can sometimes result in another set suffering.”

“This is why the APPGC will continue to call on the NHS to focus on outcome indicators and particularly the one-year survival rates broken down by CCG – for it encourages a more holistic approach to achieving earlier diagnosis. There can be no hiding places, as the one-year figures tell the entire story.”

“The latest figures suggest our one-year survival rates average 70.4%. In Sweden, the figure stands at over 80%. This difference, when overlaid on the UK’s population, suggests tens of thousands of lives are needlessly lost because we diagnose cancer too late. Our survival rates are slowly increasing, but so are others and we are not closing the gap.”

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