‘Time to Test’ – six key challenges facing cancer testing

 ‘Time to Test’ – six key challenges facing cancer testing
9 January 2024
The IBMS and AstraZeneca have published a paper outlining how to create the capacity the NHS needs for the future of cancer testing

There are growing concerns that the current model for cancer testing (and the workforce numbers associated with it) are unable to keep up with the increasing demand for pathology services across the NHS. With this in mind, the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) and AstraZeneca teamed up to develop a framework for building the cancer testing capacity the UK needs for the future.

The roundtable event which led to the publication of ‘Time to Test’ had input from relevant experts at all levels of healthcare, industry and the professional bodies. The resulting paper outlines the six key challenges identified and makes recommendations on how to build and deliver streamlined and timely cancer testing services fit for the UK’s future.

The key recommendations are:

1. Grow the workforce
2. Bring cancer testing together
3. Enable providers to deliver
4. Improve data
5. Develop a cancer testing accountability framework
6. Invest in the fundamentals

IBMS Chief Executive David Wells said:

The IBMS collaboration with AstraZeneca has been very fruitful. By looking at the entire cancer pathway from multiple perspectives, we have managed to produce a framework that will enrich the landscape of the transformation work that is ongoing in histopathology and cancer care.

AstraZeneca Diagnostics Lead Lee Welch said:

As the NHS moves towards the goal of precision medicine for cancer, it will be crucial that capacity in testing services keeps pace with developments in diagnosis and treatment. Increasing testing capacity now will empower the workforce of the future to embrace innovation, delivering more targeted medicines with improved patient outcomes, as well as continuing to deliver cutting edge research.

The IBMS and AstraZeneca will position this paper to add further context to NHS England’s excellent Histopathology Transformation Plan and broaden the call for positive change. By adding a wider diversity of sources, we will form a richer strategy that enables the delivery of better and more attractive career paths, advances testing systems and processes, and creates the required capacity in cancer testing for every UK patient to receive the right test at the right time.

Download 'Time to Test' here>>>

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