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Britain’s cancer rates won’t improve unless Government tackles staff shortages, charities warn

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Britain’s shameful cancer rates won’t improve unless Government tackles staff shortages that have resulted in 115,000 late diagnoses since 2017, Cancer Research and Macmillan warn

  • Top cancer charities warn Prime Minister Boris Johnson about staff shortages
  • They warn patients are being diagnosed late largely because of a lack of staff
  • Figures show one in ten posts for skilled staff who diagnose cancer are vacant 

Britain’s shameful cancer survival rates will not improve unless the Government tackles a desperate shortage of expert staff, two top charities warn today.

Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support have written to the Prime Minister highlighting how patients are being diagnosed late, making the cancer harder to treat, largely because of a lack of staff.

They estimate at least 115,000 patients in England were diagnosed with stage three or four tumours in 2017, considered ‘late’ stage cancers. 

The charities’ letter sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson warns ‘patients are being let down’ and says: ‘We desperately need a plan of action as pressure continues to pile up on the existing overworked staff'. He is pictured visiting a hospital in Harlow, Essex, last week

The charities’ letter sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson warns ‘patients are being let down’ and says: ‘We desperately need a plan of action as pressure continues to pile up on the existing overworked staff’. He is pictured visiting a hospital in Harlow, Essex, last week

Meanwhile, figures show one in ten posts for skilled staff who diagnose cancer are vacant.

The charities’ letter, also sent to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, warns ‘patients are being let down’ and says: ‘We desperately need a plan of action as pressure continues to pile up on the existing overworked staff.’

It adds: ‘We believe a Government that sees the NHS as a priority should see its workforce as an investment.’

Last month, a study in The Lancet medical journal found the UK was bottom of a league table of six Western nations for lung, colon, stomach and rectal cancer survival rates.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘Cancer survival rates are at a record high and we’re driving millions into effective diagnosis and screening – but want to save even more lives.’

Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support have written to the Prime Minister highlighting how patients are being diagnosed late, making the cancer harder to treat, largely because of a lack of staff [File photo]

Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support have written to the Prime Minister highlighting how patients are being diagnosed late, making the cancer harder to treat, largely because of a lack of staff [File photo]

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