Cancer Care

MQT on 2017-12-14
Session date: 
December 14, 2017
Question By: 
Navin Shah
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey by Macmillan shows Cancer patients in London's most deprived areas are experiencing worse care than the rest of England. It also shows that patients of black, Asian or mixed ethnic backgrounds reported worse cancer patient experience on 87% of the questions. What role are you able to play to support the deprived and the BAME cancer patients?

Supplementary Questions: 


Answer for Cancer Care

Answer for Cancer Care

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you for raising this important question.  I applaud Macmillan for publishing this research and for the excellent services they continue to provide for Londoners.  Many of us have friends and family who have used their services.  They are a remarkable service. 


The findings of the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey are concerning.  Everyone should be entitled to the same level of health care, no matter their ethnicity or where they live.  Last month we hosted a Macmillan‑led event at City Hall where we launched the London Cancer Community campaign.  As I made clear when launching that campaign, by working together with excellent organisations such as Macmillan we can help to raise awareness and tackle inequalities in care that are far too prevalent in London today. 


Unfortunately, in terms of the delivery of cancer services my powers and responsibilities are very limited.  That is the reason we have not focused my Health Inequalities Strategy on patient experience or access issues.  These are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Health.  It is his statutory duty.  However, I do regularly meet NHS leaders, including Professor Jane Cummings, the new Regional Director at NHS England, who I met last month.  We discuss a range of issues relating to NHS performance.  I am informed that most of the trusts are not meeting the national cancer targets and Jane Cummings and the Health Commissioners are funding cancer improvement programmes in order to address this.  My Health officers will be monitoring progress. 


I know the NHS welcomes the Macmillan survey publication and are working with them to improve both the experience and outcomes of BAME patients, as well as those in deprived areas who are living with cancer.  I should add that the cancer survival rates in this country are the highest they have ever been.  There have been huge improvements in the last 15 years and I take my hat off to the frontline doctors and nurses who have made this possible.  Cancer service provision is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Health and I repeat that all of us, including the London Assembly, should keep pressurising the Government to properly fund the NHS and to tailor cancer services to deliver a consistent service to Londoners regardless of their ethnicity or where they live. 


Navin Shah AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  I appreciate that you have constraints in terms of the responsibility you have in this area but like you said, the survey findings are extremely worrying.  The question is, is there any way you can have any figures or data available borough‑wide across London to measure the scale of the problem?  If there are any such figures available, perhaps within your Health Inequalities Strategy you can put in some measures to see how those problems can be addressed through agencies, joined‑up working and so on, and the outcome based on those measures as well. 


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  When I received your question I asked for the London-wide data and you are right, we do not hold it.  It is not held in City Hall, it is held by NHS England.  As a consequence of the concerns you have raised, I will ask NHS England for the data they have for London.  This information is crucial for us to look at where the patterns are, in the communities that all of us know.  This is not a party-political point.  What this survey uncovers is areas of deprivation and areas where there are high BAME populations are receiving a less good service than they should, though you can see the innovations in science and how brilliantly the NHS doctors, clinicians and nurses work.  That is not acceptable.  As soon as I receive that data, I will pass that on to all Assembly Members. 


Navin Shah AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor, for that.  Given that this the last question, we have plenty of time left so all that remains for me to say is to wish you a Merry Christmas and also wish you a very happy and special New Year.  Thank you very much.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you.