We have prepared a template letter to make contacting your MP as quick and easy as possible.
Copy the text below, add your details in the emboldened sections and send it to your MP, or add your own thoughts. A workforce briefing document (PDF) is also available to download and include.
House of Commons
Dear [MP’s name]
RE: Support for your local oncologist
I am writing to you as a constituent and a clinical oncologist working at [FILL IN TRUST/HOSPITAL NAME HERE]. I am sure you are aware of the local and national workforce shortages in clinical oncology and how these shortages are severely affecting our ability to treat cancer quickly and ensure good patient care.
We are very much heartened by the recent addition of 50 new clinical oncology trainee numbers in England for next year. However, we need continued investment if we are going to be able to offer the service that cancer patients deserve. The NHS needs nearly 200 extra clinical oncologists to clear the cancer backlog and ensure that all patients receive optimum care. The current shortfall of 189 clinical oncologists equates to 17% of the workforce and is forecast to rise up to 29% by 2025.
I write to ask you to support calls for from The Royal College of Radiologists for the UK government to continue its investment via the upcoming comprehensive spending review, with an additional 50 additional clinical oncology trainee places in England each year for the next four years.
As you may know, clinical oncologists lead and participate in teams with nurses, radiographers, physicists, pharmacists and other allied health professionals. These multidisciplinary teams assess and treat cancer using systemic anti-cancer therapies (chemotherapy, immunotherapy etc) and radiotherapy; clinical oncologists are the only group qualified to deliver both forms of treatment.
Cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of mortality in the UK. Workforce shortages are having a direct impact on the care that patients receive with over half (52%) of cancer service leaders reporting that workforce shortages have negatively impacted on patient care.
We are working innovatively to deliver the best service possible. From using artificial intelligence to implementing skills mix, we are committed to working efficiently and effectively. But as cancer referrals return to pre-pandemic levels, I am concerned about the backlog of cancer patients who may require more complex treatment on top of a growing demand for cancer services. Unless workforce shortages are urgently addressed, we will struggle to work through this backlog of patients.
I very much hope that you will support these calls to ensure that we are equipped with the workforce that we need to ensure that we can continue to deliver the best possible care for patients.
I would welcome a visit to [NAME OF HOSPITAL/TRUST] to see for yourself the important work that we do.
I hope you will support these calls and I look forward to hearing from you.