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Cancer patients 'can't get GP appointments'

08 September 2017 09:17

Many GPs are concerned about care for cancer patients

Many GPs are concerned about care for cancer patients

A staffing crisis in the NHS is seeing cancer patients turned away from their GP surgery and instead visiting A&E, a report has claimed.

The charity Macmillan Cancer Support surveyed 250 GPs and nurses on the subject of cancer care.

Around 1 in 3 of those polled said cancer patients had at some time had to attend A&E after finding they had nowhere else to go.

Extreme pressures

One doctor told of "extreme workload pressure" and highlighted how these pressures had created a culture of fear around missing early diagnoses.

Around half of those health professionals polled lacked confidence in the ability of the health service to provide adequate care for cancer patients.

A spokesperson at Macmillan highlighted how doctors and nurses were worried about the pressures facing the NHS, and warned that instances of cancer patients attending A&E should be the exception and not the rule.

Cancer patients and survivors can arrange specialist medical travel insurance before travelling overseas.

Worryingly routine

Lynda Thomas, chief executive at the cancer charity, said: "The story of NHS cancer care in 2017 so far is one of unrelenting pressure, and it is now clear that many hard-working doctors and nurses are seriously concerned about how the health service is coping with the pressures placed on it.

"Attending A&E because they can't get help elsewhere or waiting too long for treatment should be a rare event for someone being treated for cancer, but this research suggests this could be becoming worryingly routine.

"The NHS aspires to deliver world-class cancer care for patients, but this will not happen without enough staff with the right skills. There is an urgent need to address these pressures and set out a renewed vision for the cancer workforce to ensure it is equipped to meet future challenges."