About ABHI



To bring together NHS, cancer research organisations and industry to develop innovative pathways for cancer treatment that utilises health technologies to help deliver the objectives of the NHS Long Term Plan with particular focus on:

  • Early and faster diagnosis through the use of sophisticated digital health tools, better diagnostics testing and improved access to screening and diagnostics programmes
  • Access to a wider range of effective management options to improve outcomes through personalised treatment regimes
  • Integrated modality treatment with genomics, pharma and devices.
  • Chair - Jane Coppard, Roche Diagnostics
  • Vice Chair - Graham Popham, Olympus Medical 
  • Work with stakeholders to develop a Cancer innovation fund for HealthTech
  • Establish collaborative platforms with key stakeholders
  • Develop innovative methods (value/outcome based) for reimbursement / funding and implementation of cancer technologies.
Useful Resources

Click here to view the latest updates, minutes and future meeting dates for the group. 

The impact of COVID-19 on Cancer Care: News

12th October
Cancer Research UK has called for HEE to receive up to £260min the forthcoming spending review for staff training to achieve a 45 per cent growth in the cancer workforce by 2029. Half of the investment needed is to boost numbers of histopathologists.

29th September 2020

HSJ: Leaked data outlines the length of the cancer waiting list in the wake of the first pandemic peak. The list consists of those waiting for a test, the outcome of a test, or for treatment. The data, obtained from official emails seen by HSJ, showed the total number of people on the cancer waiting list grew substantially, from 50,000 to around 58,000, between the start of August and the middle of September. With nearly 6,400 people waiting more than 100 days following a referral to cancer services. However, those waiting more than 104 days has shrunk significantly over the same period.

10th September 2020

HSJThe number of patients with cancer referred from screening services has fallen to nearly a third of pre-covid levels, new data shows. A total of 2,604 patients had their cancer picked up by screening services between April to July. This compares to 7,204 in the same period last year.

29th August 2020

The government has pledged £50 million for further investment in AI to speed up the diagnosis of deadly diseases like cancer through delivering digital upgrades to pathology and imaging services across the country. It will scale up the work of the existing Digital Pathology and Imaging AI Centres of Excellence, launched in 2018 to develop cutting-edge digital tools to improve the diagnosis of disease.

14th August 2020

New Cancer waiting time data shows that the covid-19 outbreak saw just 9,891 patients treated in June on the 62-day target pathway, down from 13,165 in the same month last year and the proportion of patients who had waited 104 days or more jumped from 5.3 per cent last year to 10.7 per cent in the most recent data.

29th July 2020

HSJDame Cally Palmer, national cancer director has stated biggest challenge for the next several months is dealing with pent up demand. In terms of managing that backlog and retaining innovation and lessons learned from the pandemic the things here to stay include cancer hubs, pathway management, telemedicine and some changes to treatment protocols.

6th July 2020

BBC: Delays to cancer diagnosis and treatment due to coronavirus could cause up to 35,000 excess deaths in the UK within a year in a worst case scenario, research suggests. Up to two million routine breast, bowel and cervical cancer screenings may have been missed and urgent referrals and treatments have also been delayed or cancelled.

3rd July 2020

UKRI: Patients could receive earlier and more precise diagnoses for potentially life-threatening diseases such as cancer thanks to £16 million funding from government and charity. Funding will benefit six innovative health projects across the UK using disruptive technologies such as AI, to detect chronic or terminal diseases earlier, helping to save lives.

30th June 2020

The Health Select Committee covered a few items related to cancer care with Stephen Powis, Amanda Pritchard and Simon Stephens responding. They confirmed that cancer services were clearly disrupted “for a wide variety of reasons”. They are reviewing how to operationalise endoscopy and they were thinking much more radically about increasing capacity for critical diagnostic services which have been a significant constraint. It was also noted that the NHS launched a campaign in April to encourage people to access services if needed, to ensure that referrals enter the NHS system. However, in the maion, it was felt that cancer treatment held up pretty consistently during the crisis.

The TimesNightingale hospitals are to be repurposed as cancer testing centres to deal with a growing backlog, the head of the NHS told MPs.

24th June 2020

The TimesThe number of people waiting more than six weeks for MRI scans to detect diseases such as cancer has risen by 1,277 per cent in two months, according to an analysis by Labour.

The Guardian: People with cancer will die unless the Treasury agrees to fund the treatment of NHS patients in private hospitals for months to come, surgeons and a leading cancer charity are warning.

12th June 2020

HSJ: A leading doctor has warned that endoscopy services will struggle to get back to pre-covid levels and Trusts will need to prioritise patients. Endoscopy procedures are part of the pathway for many conditions, including bowel cancer and stomach ulcers and are aerosol generating. The time taken for droplets to settle in rooms after a procedure can be up to an hour and three quarters, depending on how areas are ventilated, only then can the room be cleaned and another patient seen. This could reduce capacity to a maximum of about 20 per cent of normal activity.

10th June 2020

NHS England: Patients are being offered more convenient cancer treatment during the coronavirus pandemic, including chemotherapy buses and the fast track rollout of an innovative and life-saving type of radiotherapy, SABR.

The Independent: Hospitals are not equipped to deal with the surge in screenings and tests as the health service restarts care – leaving patients facing delays in diagnosis and treatment for conditions including cancer, according to medical leaders. As the NHS tries to recover from the worst of the coronavirus crisis, more than a million laboratory samples from cancer screening services are expected in pathology labs, while as many as 850,000 delayed CT and MRI scans need to be carried out. But 97 per cent of labs do not have enough pathologists to carry out the work while the number of radiology posts nationally would need to be increased by a third to deal with the rise, experts say.

8th June 2020

NHS England and NHS Improvement: Second phase of NHS response to COVID-19 for cancer services sets out further guidance and support to local systems and Cancer Alliances to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer, so that referrals, diagnostics and treatment can be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity. 

The Guardian: New research has revealed the majority of cancer patients – 53% – have been left unable to access treatment in the normal way, the biggest study of the suspension of NHS care during the pandemic has found.

5th June 2020

Action Radiotherapy have sbumitted an open letter to Matt Hancock and NHS England that has been signed by 235 healthcare professionals. The letter calls for SABR services to be opened up across the NHS in England. The charity states: "We believe that it is crucial to maximise radiotherapy capacity to manage a predicted surge in cancer diagnosis and a backlog of cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

28th May 2020

Macmillan Cancer Support has said that cancer is going undiagnosed for up to 2,000 people a week due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the charity warning that the UK now faces a ‘ticking time bomb’. The warning follows a study from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, that suggested putting off cancer surgeries for three months could lead to almost 5,000 excess deaths in England alone.

The impact of COVID-19 on Cancer Care: Resources

Nuffield Trust data on how performance against the cancer waiting time targets has changed over time.