The NHS has today announced its Long Term plan for healthcare. Its central commitment is to save up to half a million more lives over the next ten years.

What's in the NHS long term plan?

Key elements of the plan reflect Bowel & Cancer Research's approach: We endorse its overarching aim to help people to lead healthier lives, with a focus on prevention, not just treatment, of disease. A commitment to early diagnosis is also very welcome in terms of bowel cancer, better enabling us to catch the disease in its early stages when it is highly treatable.

However, critical shortages in staff within the system threaten the viability of this plan. This needs to be remedied alongside investment in medical research and innovation in technologies that will support the system to make better use of staff time in screening and diagnostic areas, for example, in endoscopy, radiology and pathology services.

Writing in the Daily Mail, the Chancellor Philip Hammond said

To meet this challenge, we must go back to our roots. We must be innovative, rekindling the pioneering spirit that saw British researchers in the '50s discover DNA and develop a vaccination programme that eventually eradicated polio; the introduction of CT scans in 1972 and the first heart, lung and liver transplants in 1990...

Research continues to be the key to saving and changing lives. Sometimes it’s hard to equate the diagnostics and treatments that are used today that will ALL have been a result of high quality research.

The next decade is incredibly exciting if we can fund the great ideas, the best science and our next generation of research talent - and if the government, of whatever shade, provides the right environment in which research can thrive and translate into exceptional care.