Cancer Research UK has reported that over the past 6 years, almost 55,000 cancer patients have missed the 62-day wait for treatment. The key reasons for this are shortages in workforce and diagnostic equipment. These patients should have been diagnosed quicker and started treatment sooner. However, the government’s own target of 85% of cancer patients seen, diagnosed and starting treatment within 62 days has consistently been missed over the last 6 years. This report draws further attention to the need for investment in workforce and equipment in the NHS.
Professor Charles Swanton, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: “Being referred urgently because you might have cancer, receiving a diagnosis and beginning treatment for the disease are hugely anxious times for patients, which are further compounded when there are delays.
“For people with cancer, every day counts; that is why we have cancer targets. I’ve been working in the NHS for a long time and it’s hard to watch the continuous deterioration, and the anxiety and worsening outcomes this can cause patients. The Government has to commit to long term investment in workforce and kit so that we can turn things around and give patients both the care and outcomes they deserve.”
Read the press release from Cancer Research UK here and sign the petition to call for more investment in the cancer workforce