Wes Streeting: 'Cancer treatment has reinforced my appreciation of NHS'

Despite protesting last year, NHS nurses only received a one per cent pay rise

Despite protesting last year, NHS nurses only received a one per cent pay rise - Credit: PA Images

Since the news of my kidney cancer diagnosis became public, I have been overwhelmed by love, kindness and support from so many people.

Campaigning for the NHS has always been a priority for me, but I have a new, deeper, appreciation for how brilliant the people who work in the NHS are.

From the urologists at King George and Queen’s Hospitals who first identified the tumour risk, to the surgical and nursing team at the Royal Free Hospital who treated me, I’ve had world-class, life-saving treatment and it hasn’t cost me a penny beyond my taxes. This is a wonderful thing.

MP Wes Streeting accuses the government of "dither and delay".

MP Wes Streeting accuses the government of "dither and delay". - Credit: Archant

Following a successful operation last month, I am recovering well and making daily progress as I try and get myself back to full health.

Until then I’ll be off work, but I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to say two things that couldn’t wait for my return.

The first is that we need to boost NHS staff numbers and pay the staff we have fairly. I’ve seen first-hand that the system is stretched. Staff deserve a pay rise and we need more of them, too.

Secondly, cancer waiting times are far too high. One in two of us will get cancer during our lifetimes and our chances of survival are far higher if we catch it early.

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The current backlog of delays is frighteningly high. Tackling this must be a government priority.

Until I return, my brilliant staff team are here to help. Don’t hesitate to be in touch.