The Britain Against Cancer Conference filled Central Hall. There was huge expertise and experience there from clinicians, policy makers, charities, researchers, patient groups and others. So I was somewhat in awe as I chaired a number of sessions including the one in which Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, announced major investment in upgrading radiotherapy as well as £200 million fund over two years to improve local cancer services.
This was very welcome news, a good backdrop to the debate in the Chamber of the House of Commons that I led on the Cancer Strategy: One Year On. It was a good debate with a lot of cross-party expertise and general agreement that there have been good steps forward over the last few years but there is much more to do. In particular we need to recognise the contribution that public health campaigns around smoking cessation and other things contribute to prevention and we need to up our game in terms of the treatment of stuck cancers like pancreatic that have seen little improvement in outcomes over 40 years and find ways of responding properly to the demands of rarer cancers that aren't perhaps best served by the current NICE approach.
I was delighted to join workers from Scunthorpe's 2Sisters down to celebrate the British Poultry Council's Distinguished Service Award presented to Mary Clark for 4 decades service in the industry locally. A fantastic achievement!
More achievements were on show at Westcliffe Primary School when I joined them for a fabulous assembly. And I really enjoyed the wonderful Festival of Trees at Brumby United Church organised by Scunthorpe Rotary but showing the range and brilliance of local charitable activity.
In a busy week I also had some very useful meetings about the challenges facing the local health and care service with North Lincolnshire Council's new Head of Paid Service, North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health Trust. What's clear to me is we face significant challenges but everyone is working hard together to try to make sure that we have the partnerships and working relationships in place to meet these challenges. But, as the national debate on the future of health and care keeps reminding us, we also need to make sure that areas like North Lincolnshire have sufficient money from the government to meet the local needs.