Responding to the health and social care secretary’s declaration of a "national war on cancer" and the new call for evidence to inform a 10–Year Cancer Plan for England, Dr. Jeanette Dickson, President of The Royal College of Radiologists, said:
"We welcome this renewed focus on early diagnostics and innovative treatments. Cancer is devastating too many lives and the backlog needs to be tackled. Diagnostic scanning is crucial to winning the war on cancer, but there’s no quick fix.
"We have a shortfall of nearly 2000 consultant radiologists, the doctors who interpret complex scans, and we need a long term plan to solve this; equally, too many scanning machines are out of date making them slower, less accurate, and disconnected from IT systems. IT is a huge problem in the NHS already – systems don’t talk to each other and even logging on can take a doctor valuable time.
"Finally, we need more consultant oncologists – we’re seeing a shortfall of nearly 20%. These are the doctors who treat cancer and will be at the forefront of innovative therapies. All these challenges need to be overcome if we’re going to deal with the backlog and start to win the war on cancer, and we look forward to working with the Secretary of State to help tackle them."