We were delighted to join Cancer Research UK (CRUK) in Westminster to launch their new campaign: Shoulder to Shoulder against cancer asking government to train and employ more staff to diagnose and treat cancers early. Our members can also support the campaign. CRUK are encouraging MPs to sign a letter to Theresa May, asking government to prioritise workforce in any upcoming spending review. You can get involved by asking your MP to sign the letter which is available on the CRUK website.
We promoted the vital role pathology plays in cancer diagnostics and we were very pleased with the number of CRUK Campaign Ambassadors who spoke to Dr Darren Treanor, our digital pathology lead and Dr Mike Osborn, Chair of the Cellular Pathology Specialty Advisory Committee. The ambassadors are volunteers who campaign on cancer prevention, early diagnosis, science research and access to treatments. Our journey of a biopsy video was well received by ambassadors who then took some key messages to their local MPs who they met later on in the afternoon.
Dr Darren Treanor attended the event, and was able to tell the ambassadors about his research group’s Virtual Pathology website, as well as his work on digital pathology. Dr Treanor felt the clinic-style sessions were extremely valuable and was able to use digital pathology images to explain our work. He said the ambassadors were very interested to know more about how pathologists diagnose cancer, and they all saw the need for highly trained staff to deliver a high quality pathology service in the NHS.
Dr Mike Osborn also attended a parliamentary reception for MPs which was a chance to reinforce some of the College’s key messages on the challenges facing the pathology workforce in cancer diagnostics by talking to parliamentarians and the team at CRUK. There were speeches from Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, who gave his support for diagnostics services; Elizabeth Bailey, a Campaign Ambassador, who paid tribute to the NHS staff involved in her diagnosis and treatment; and Sir Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of CRUK, who stressed that more diagnostic staff are needed in the NHS to meet targets for early detection.
Several of the campaign ambassadors signed up to receive an email from the College on the importance of pathology in cancer prevention and diagnosis. We will continue to engage with CRUK in their excellent work on cancer diagnosis and workforce capacity.