Many thanks to those who have contacted me about the backlog in cancer treatment.
I know that the Government is absolutely committed to supporting the NHS recovery from COVID-19, recognising the need to go beyond the record funding already provided. The elective backlog, will be tackled with the biggest catch up programme in the NHS's history and I know that cancer patients will continue to be prioritised. I especially welcome the doubling of spending this year, to £2 billion, to start this important work. Additionally more than £8 billion will be spent in the following three years from 2022-23 to 2024-25.
Cancer patients will absolutely benefit from these commitments, which could deliver the equivalent of around nine million more checks, scans and procedures. It will also mean the NHS in England can aim to deliver around 30 per cent more elective activity by 2024-25 than it was before the pandemic.
This will be supported by £325 million for NHS diagnostics, which will help to ensure that cancer patients are able to access the care that they need as safely and quickly as possible.
I hope, like me, you are reassured by these commitments from the Government. Any further funding is subject to the 2021 Spending Review in the autumn.
In the past decade, rates of survival from cancer have increased year-on-year. Around 7,000 people are alive today who would not have been had mortality rates stayed the same.
The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP), published during 2019, outlined a number of new measures for catching cancer early and providing treatment, with the aim that from 2028, 55,000 more people each year will survive their cancer for at least five years after diagnosis. One of the measures outlined in the plan is safer and more precise treatment, including advanced radiotherapy techniques and immunotherapies to continue to support improvements in survival rates. This will be supported by a £130 million upgrade of radiotherapy machines across England, as well as commissioning the NHS new state-of-the-art Proton Beam facilities in London and Manchester.
In addition, the LTP commits to reforms to the specialised commissioning payments for radiotherapy hypofractionation to support further equipment upgrades. Faster, smarter and more effective radiotherapy, supported by greater networking of specialised expertise, will mean more patients are offered curative treatment, with fewer side effects and shorter treatment times. Starting with ovarian cancer, the NHS will ensure greater access to specialist expertise and knowledge in the treatment of cancers where there are fewer or more risky treatment options.
I hope that this provides reassurance that providing adequate support for a widely used and effective treatment for cancer is absolutely a priority for the Department of Health and Social Care and across the NHS.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.