NHS Overburdened With Cancer Care, Charity Says

NHS is missing key targets for cancer care.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — There is insufficient staff at the UK’s NHS to deal with increasing numbers of cancer patients, a health charity warned.

BBC reported Macmillan Cancer Support as saying that patients were calling its helpline “at breaking point” because they were hesitant to ask questions from their overstretched doctors and nurses.

The cancer charity reportedly received over 240,000 calls this year, with most callers wanting emotional support because of anxiety or fear over cancer.

This was followed by problems with accessing hospital or community care, including difficulties contacting medical staff or getting specialist medical equipment to use at home.

Macmillan reportedly said callers requesting this kind of assistance have been increasing over the past few years, outnumbering complaints about pain and side-effects from treatment.

“NHS staff do an extraordinary job faced with huge pressures, but as increased demand for our services shows, there simply aren’t enough of them to meet the needs of the growing number of people living with cancer,” Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive Lynda Thomas was quoted saying.

According to BBC, NHS targets 85 per cent of patients who are given an urgent referral by their general practitioner (GP) to start cancer treatment within 62 days, but last month, NHS England said 76.9 per cent of cancer patients began treatment in two months.

NHS has also reportedly missed cancer targets in Scotland and Wales.

NHS England said an increasing number of people with cancer is getting referrals for treatment.

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