Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Austin backs Bowel Cancer UK's campaign for more NHS staff

Dudley MP Ian Austin is supporting Bowel Cancer UK’s End the Capacity Crisis campaign and is calling on the Government to recruit more NHS staff to tackle long waiting times for tests that could diagnose bowel cancer – the UK’s second biggest cancer killer.

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Under NHS rules patients should wait no more than six weeks for these life-saving tests, but every month on average this year a quarter of NHS hospitals in England (28%) were in breach of this target – a clear sign that NHS staff are struggling to cope.

Many NHS hospitals are at breaking point because they simply do not have the capacity to meet the growing demand to carry out these two tests. A lack of funding, limited resources and a shortage of staff to perform the number of procedures needed are contributing to this.

Ian Austin MP has joined more than 5,000 people and cross party MPs in signing Bowel Cancer UK’s open letter calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt Hon Philip Hammond, and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, to end the capacity crisis and work together to develop a fully funded action plan to tackle these staff shortages in diagnostic services for bowel cancer.

The letter was handed in to the Government ahead of the autumn budget at the end of this month and the publication of the NHS 10 Year plan in November.

Ian Austin MP said:

“Doctors, nurses, midwives, physios, paramedics and all sorts of support and technical staff work so hard to care for the rest of us and they deserve our thanks and support, but they also need a government that is on their side and funds the NHS properly.

“I am backing this campaign to ensure that everyone referred for this life-saving test is seen in a timely manner. That’s why I have signed Bowel Cancer UK’s important letter urging the government to invest in more NHS staff to tackle the long waiting times and bring an end to the capacity crisis, ahead of the autumn budget.”

Asha Kaur, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Bowel Cancer UK, said:

“Timely access to tests for bowel cancer is key to improving early diagnosis, but services to diagnose the disease have been under staffed and under resourced for some time.  So I’d like to thank Ian Austin for supporting our campaign to tackle this issue. We urgently need a fully funded action plan to address how workforce can be increased and staff trained, so we can save more lives by diagnosing people earlier.

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