Last September a report highlighted that Barking and Dagenham had one of the lowest one-year cancer survival rates in our NHS England Local Region at 62 per cent. At the time of the report Havering was also just falling short of the UK average at 66 per cent.
Local MP for Dagenham and Rainham Jon Cruddas is keen to promote the importance of early diagnosis after learning that thirty per cent of deaths across the area each year are due to cancer.
Following the report last year Jon Cruddas MP contacted both the Havering and Barking & Dagenham Clinical Commissioning Groups asking what initiatives they had in place to try and improve early diagnosis locally.
Since the report the Clinical Commissioning Groups have confirmed that new GPs have started work in Barking and Dagenham to spot cancer and help patients get the help they need earlier. The GPs, funded by the cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support, are helping fellow GPs spot cancer earlier and working with local health and care services to make cancer care more effective.
Dr Waseem Mohi, GP and chair of Barking and Dagenham Clinical Commissioning Group said: "We know that cancer care and survival rates in our borough are not good enough and we need to improve. Our new Macmillan GPs are an important part of our work to make sure we can spot cancer earlier and improve care. Like my family doctor colleagues, I'm really looking forward to working with our new Macmillan GPs so we can make a difference for our patients. We can treat many cancers if we spot them early enough and people should come forward if they are concerned."
Jon Cruddas MP: "We know that early diagnosis of cancer leads to better survival rates. The recent statistics for our area show that there is much we need to improve on. Since my initial inquiry I have had a response from the Barking and Dagenham CCG – highlighting that they have launched a new initiative, working alongside the cancer charity Macmillan to improve GPs ability to spot early signs.
"I have been fighting for better local health provisions for a number of years now and it is always encouraging to see improvements. However there is still much to do – the Orchard Village walk in centre is currently undergoing a total modernisation as part of the local regeneration plan, and there are plans for new NHS services in Dagenham East over the coming year. It is important that we continue the fight to ensure that all of our facilities receive the funding they need to provide the best level of care for local residents."