Many thanks to those who have contacted me about the protection and support of cancer patients.
I agree that despite coronavirus causing disruptions to the lives of many people this is much more profound for those with cancer particularly where testing and treatment has been delayed or postponed. It is of great importance that cancer patients can continue to receive adequate care and protection during the coronavirus outbreak, including any additional health risks posed by the virus.
When any cancer treatment begins the medical team works with a patient to balance the risks and benefits of treatment before agreeing to plan. Although doctors have sought to continue treatment where possible, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in some instances physicians may have decided that the risks of certain treatments, particularly those that weaken the immune system, to be of much greater risk than normal and therefore postponed treatment.
However, both the NHS and the Government remain committed to protecting those with cancer and ensuring they receive the highest level of care. It was therefore encouraging to hear Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announce on 27th April the restoration of NHS services starting with the most urgent, which included cancer care.
Where possible doctors are also seeking to continue regular contact with their patients through telephone appointments giving patients the opportunity to raise any concerns directly with their specialist, and for their doctor to update them on their treatment plan. Doctors are seeking to continue with treatment where possible, however this may need to be altered in specific cases.
The Government also recognises the vital work charities do in offering practical help and support to the most vulnerable members of our community, including those charities seeking to help cancer patients. It is with this in mind the Government have awarded cash grants to allow charities to continue helping those in need, including Anthony Nolan Trust and Blood Cancer UK, amongst others.
Despite coronavirus, this Government remains resolute in its commitment to provide measures to enable effective prevention, prompt and effective diagnosis, access to the best effective treatments and ultimately to increase the number of people surviving cancer.