Cancer prevalence in the UK is increasing; current estimates show that one in two of us born after 1960 will turn to the NHS for a form of cancer treatment at one point in our lives. The Patients Association is concerned that the UK allocates much less of its health spending to cancer (3.8%) than the EU average (5%) and survival lags behind much of Europe. Whilst the NHS has set itself the target of radically improving cancer outcomes over the next five years, given the budget pressures on the NHS it is likely that this target will have to be achieved without any significant extra funds.
This squeeze on NHS resources can lead to a negative cycle in cancer care, where too often a short term approach that focuses on immediate pressures can often lead to longer term costs, resulting in fewer resources being available. In order to support the NHS to radically improve patient outcomes, we need to break the negative cycle in cancer care. To address this challenge, The Patients Association and Bristol-Myers Squibb are working alongside experts and patients from across the cancer space to identify new models of service delivery, showcase best practice, and provide real improvements in patient care.