More cancer diagnosis needed, but plan admits lack of staff

Plans to address the growing crisis in cancer diagnosis and treatment – caused by a drop in referrals since the pandemic began earlier this year – were recently revealed in a document leaked to online news site HSJ.

According to the document, NHS England is planning to create at least 150 ‘community diagnostic hubs’ to help clear the ballooning waiting lists that have built up while the health service withdrew care from non-covid patients to focus on coping with the impact of the virus. However, the document contained no details of additional funding to finance this expansion programme.

The need to restore provision of cancer diagnosis to pre-pandemic levels is pressing. With existing screening programmes effectively suspended across the UK – meaning 210,000 fewer people are being scanned each week – the resulting backlog of cancer care has already impacted nearly 2.5m people simply through a lack of urgent referrals.

Full story in The Lowdown, 14 September 2020