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NHS struggling to provide safe cancer care, say senior doctors

The Royal College of Radiologists is warning that all four UK nations are facing "chronic staff shortages", with cancer patients waiting too long for vital tests and treatments.

Half of all cancer units are now reporting frequent delays for both radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Ministers say a workforce strategy for the NHS in England is due shortly.

The plan, which is meant to spell out how the government will plug staffing gaps over the next 15 years, has been repeatedly delayed, to the frustration of some in the health service.

In June 2022, Carol Fletcher, from South Wales, finally had her routine screening appointment for breast cancer, which was itself overdue.

"It took another eight weeks after my mammogram before I was told there might be something wrong," she said.

Since her cancer diagnosis, there have been more waits - for scans, tests, surgery and then chemo.

"I was told that I might not get results back [quickly] after my mastectomy because they haven't got enough pathologists, so there was another eight-week delay for chemotherapy," she said.

"I can't plan for the future and it's had a huge impact on my family."

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Source: BBC News, 8 June 2023


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