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NHS England National Clinical Director Cancer Diagnostics gives keynote talk at APPG for Diagnostics meeting

Chaired by Maggie Throup MP, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Diagnostics held its second meeting on 24 May at Portcullis House in Westminster with key note speaker Professor Peter Johnson, NHS England National Clinical Director for Cancer.

Guests also heard from Professor Mike Osborn, President of the Royal College of Pathologists, and Katharine Halliday, President of the Royal College of Radiologists.

Professor Johnson opened the meeting by setting out the NHS diagnostic landscape across England, highlighting the vital importance of early diagnosis and the role of diagnostic services in improving patient outcomes. As part of this speech, he gave an update on Community Diagnostic Centres and the planned programme expansion.

Throughout, Professor Johnson highlighted the current challenges in improving the targets for early diagnosis post the COVID-19 pandemic. He said: `There have been significant challenges post pandemic in improving rates of early diagnosis of suspected cancer cases. However, the rates for early diagnosis are improving, which is encouraging.

This is an example how concerted funding, and the collective hard work of the diagnostic workforce can move the dial in the right direction on early diagnosis, but we know that more needs to be done.’

The meeting was attended by parliamentarians, charity, and industry representatives, who had the opportunity to put questions to Professor Johnson. Issues raised included:

  • Workforce capacity
  • Improving interoperability between NHS systems
  • Implementing innovative technology and digital solutions
  • Genetic testing
  • Quality Assurance within screening programmes
  • NHS leadership

Next, the APPG for Diagnostics will be running two roundtables to discuss the Community Diagnostic Centre programme, convening clinical, industry and NHSE specialists to talk about the challenges currently faced and the solutions to successful roll out.

Notes for editors

Professor Peter Johnson is Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Southampton. He was Chief Clinician for Cancer Research UK for ten years where he established pilot work in genomic analysis for cancer patients. He co-chaired the CRUK/Royal College of GPs Cancer Clinical Priority Group. He was appointed CBE for services to cancer research in 2016.

The APPG for Diagnostics

Together with the Royal College of Radiologists, the Royal College of Pathologists runs he secretariat for the APPG. The role of the APPG for Diagnostics is to highlight the value of diagnostics, promote the diagnostic workforce, and improve diagnostic services by raising awareness of the barriers and solutions to optimising the early and swift diagnosis of diseases, illnesses, and injuries.

APPG for Diagnostics members

  • Maggie Throup MP, Chair
  • Lord Bethell
  • Elliot Colburn MP (Cons, Carshalton and Wallington)
  • Tim Farron MP (Lib Dem, Westmorland)
  • Sir Oliver Heald MP (Cons, North East Hertfordshire)
  • Grahame Morris MP (Labour, Easington)
  • Mary Robinson MP (Conservative, Cheadle)
  • Jim Shannon MP (DUP, Strangford)