Speaking out on health services

Earlier this month I wrote about how a new report from the Teenage Cancer Trust highlighted that Surrey and Sussex is one of five Cancer Alliance areas where five-year cancer survival of 13-24 year olds improved significantly from 2001-05 to 2007-11.

While this is a step in the right direction there is no room for complacency. This week I will be meeting with the charity to discuss what more can be done on a local and national level to improve patient outcomes further.

This was also the focus in Parliament last Tuesday (19th February), where I took part in a debate on our National Health Service. The Government aims to see 75 per cent of all cancers diagnosed by stage 1 or stage 2 by 2028, however there are a number of cancers, including blood cancers, which have no staging system or are unstageable. I continue to seek assurances from ministers that these cancers will also be addressed.

I welcome the Care Minister’s concluding remarks during the debate on how NHS England is already testing innovative ways of diagnosing cancer earlier, with particular reference to pilot diagnostic centres for patients with vague or non-specific symptoms, which are especially common in blood cancers. The Government have pledged to roll out rapid diagnosis centres nationwide, to offer all patients a range of tests on the same day with rapid access to results.

On behalf of the estimated 11,000 people in Crawley living with cardiovascular disease I also highlighted the need to support people with heart and circulatory conditions. In particular, I welcome the NHS Long-Term Plan’s renewed focus on prevention and early detection of risk factors in these areas.

Four in 10 adults with high blood pressure remain undiagnosed. An estimated one in five of those who have been diagnosed are not being optimally treated.

With improved detection of who has these conditions, they can be helped to manage their risk, ultimately saving more lives.

Henry Smith MP