Message from Prof Price: Responding to UK Political Party Manifestos

Liberal Democrats’ Manifesto

With cancer waiting times stubbornly stuck at record levels, Radiotherapy UK and I welcome the Liberal Democrats' commitments to boost cancer survival rates and guarantee that 100% of patients will start treatment for cancer within 62 days from urgent referral.

We are pleased to see the pledge to replace ageing radiotherapy cancer treatment machines and increase their overall number. Better access to radiotherapy is vital for timely cancer treatment.

The simple reality is that cancer services in the UK are in crisis, and it will take a focused, concerted effort by the next Government to improve cancer outcomes. We're pleased to see political parties acknowledging the dire status quo in cancer, but the true test will be what happens once the next Parliament begins.

A dedicated national cancer plan, including a fully funded strategy for radiotherapy, will bring the UK in line with international best practice, and get us on the path to recovery.

For a detailed guide, policy professionals and the political parties should be sure to read our 10-year vision, which we produced as part of our role in running the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy.

Conservative Manifesto

With cancer waits still the most deadly of NHS backlogs and with little sign of any significant improvement against the key target of treatment within 62 days of urgent referral, it's extremely disappointing and alarming that cancer receives only two brief mentions in the Conservative manifesto. 

There is no commitment to the reinstatement of a dedicated national cancer plan and no mention of the need to boost the high-tech sectors such as radiotherapy that could so easily, and affordably, play a much greater role in tackling the cancer crisis.  

A deeply disappointing document on one of the main health issues of our time.

Labour Manifesto 

It is a breath of fresh air to see cancer at the front and centre of Labour’s manifesto. We welcome the commitment to offering more appointments and reducing waiting times.

While commitments to increase the number of CT and MRI scanners for cancer diagnosis are welcome, we urge Labour to ensure that radiotherapy cancer treatment machines form a part of this plan. It is vital that we not only diagnose cancer patients early but we treat them quickly too.