Campaigners queueing outside UK parliament

What Are We Waiting For?

Macmillan is campaigning for governments across the UK to tackle dangerously long waits for cancer tests and treatment.  

Too many people are facing delays to cancer care, their worlds turned upside down with stress and worry. NHS staff are doing the very best they can, but the system is stretched to breaking point.  

Politicians have let cancer care and our health service descend into crisis. But it doesn't have to be this way. Sign our campaign banner to support NHS staff and people with cancer.

Help us to make our voices heard as we ask governments directly: What are you waiting for?


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The impact of waiting times 

At least 100,000 people across the UK have seen their cancer progress or get worse due to increasing delays

  • Tackle inequalities in cancer delays
    Waits for cancer services across the UK vary significantly. People living in more deprived areas often face longer average delays, but it’s not clear why. Governments must identify which populations are facing the longest waits and act on this, in partnership with experts. 
  • Help everyone with cancer progress through the system as quickly as possible
    People are being forced to navigate complex health services and push for the care they need. Governments must increase national funding so people have the support they need to progress through the system. For example, having access to a care coordinator or a person-centred support package. 
  • Make sure local NHS services have the funding and support they need to reduce cancer care delays

    Pressures on the system include funding and staff shortages, redeployment of staff to other areas, and backlogs from the pandemic.

    Governments must provide dedicated funding and support to:

    • bring down waits for cancer services
    • keep cancer professionals in frontline cancer care
    • fund more administrative and support roles. 
  • Provide better support for people experiencing long waits 

    Cancer can affect a person’s whole life, from their physical and emotional health, to finances and employment.

    Governments must:

    • deliver support programmes, from prehabilitation to rehabilitation
    • invest in specialist staff so that everyone can get support, whatever cancer throws at them.

Delays and living with incurable cancer

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Learn more in our What Are We Waiting For? report