AN MP has called for a quicker rollout of new radiotherapy treatment to deal with the waiting list for cancer treatment caused by the coronavirus pandemic and to 'stop lives being unnecessarily lost'.

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, pressed ministers on the issue in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

He urged the rollout of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) treatment be brought forward. SABR is described by Macmillan Cancer Support as ‘a way of giving radiotherapy to precisely target certain cancers’. The charity says it can be given with fewer treatments than standard radiotherapy.

Mr Farron is therefore hoping its introduction across the country, set to take place by April next year, can be brought forward to cut down the number of hospital visits cancer patients need to make.

At health questions in Parliament, Mr Farron said: “With a 60 per cent drop in cancer referrals and a 20 per cent drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment, we have late diagnoses and a backlog which tragically could kill more people than Covid.

“So will the minister go further and faster and deploy expanded radiotherapy treatment this summer to clear this backlog?”

He also asked health minister Jo Churchill if she would ‘commit to appointing a radiotherapy tsar and a rolling radiotherapy fund’ to stop ‘lives being unnecessarily lost’.

Ms Churchill said the Government was ‘driving hard’ to make sure patients were treated as soon as possible and that there was a possibility the rollout of SABR across the country could be brought forward.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Farron said: “Locally here in the South Lakes there are sadly many people who have had their cancer surgery or chemotherapy treatment cancelled as a result of this pandemic.

“If the Government were to speed up the rollout of radiotherapy treatment then we would be able to give cancer patients a better quality of life and a longer life.”