All-Party Parliamentary Groups evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on blood cancer services10 Mar. 2022
"People living with blood cancer have been uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic"
In March 2020, the country was hit by the worst pandemic in a hundred years, changing all our lives dramatically. In many ways, people living with blood cancer have been uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst in the last decade there has been hardwon progress on blood cancer survival, the pandemic has placed this in peril, with the very real prospect that survival rates in the UK could decline for the first time.
As Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Blood Cancer and Stem Cell Transplantation and Advanced Cellular Therapies, we wanted to uncover the extent of the deep and ongoing impact of the pandemic on the blood cancer community. From increasing waiting times to changes to treatment pathways, it is clear this has been a major shock to the system that has ramifications for the physical and emotional wellbeing of people living with blood cancer, their families, and the NHS staff caring for them.
It remains to be seen what the long-term outcomes will be. As the evidence submitted to this inquiry attests, much depends on the NHS being equipped with the resources it needs to address the growing cancer backlog which threatens to persist for years to come.
We hope the recommendations of this report will serve to support the efforts underway to recover blood cancer services and meet rising demand, by highlighting the experiences and priorities of patients, families, carers, and healthcare professionals.
We are grateful to all those who contributed evidence, during what continues to be a challenging period for the whole of the blood cancer community. We are particularly indebted to the people living with blood cancer who shared their experiences with us at such a testing time.
It is of vital importance that the needs of people with blood cancer are not overlooked as the NHS sets the pathway to recovery from the pandemic. Our hope is that the recommendations set out in this report shape the future of blood cancer services and ensure that the needs of people living with blood cancer in this context remain firmly on the NHS and political agenda.
Henry Smith MP and Mark Tami MP
Chairs of the APPG on Blood Cancer and the APPG on Stem Cell Transplantation and Advanced Cellular Therapies
This report was compiled by Blood Cancer UK and Anthony Nolan who provide the Secretariats to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Stem Cell Transplantation and Advanced Cellular Therapies respectively.