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MEPs condemn lack of “serious effort” to tackle labor shortage for cancer

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The Committee on Health and Social Welfare has highlighted the government’s lack of serious efforts to close gaps in the cancer workforce.

Committee members say this jeopardizes early diagnosis, which is key to improving overall survival and catching up with comparable countries.

In a very critical report on cancer services in England, MPs raise concerns about the harmful and long-term effects of the pandemic and warn of the real risk of cancer survival.

Evidence presented to the committee by the government and the NHS shows that the NHS is not on track to achieve its goal of early cancer diagnosis. Without progress, this would mean that more than 340,000 people between 2019 and 2028 were unable to diagnose cancer early.

The overall progress made by the government in tackling the goals of cancer services in England was assessed as “insufficient” last week by the committee’s expert group. His assessment also assessed progress in diagnosing 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2 by 2028 as inadequate.

Deputies say there seems to be no “detailed plan” to address the shortage of clinical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and cancer specialists, who are equally at risk of diagnosis, treatment and research.

Despite some progress in one-year cancer survival since the 1970s, results in England lag behind other countries such as Canada or Australia. For comparison, fewer people in England will live five or more years with a diagnosis of colon or stomach cancer.

Committee Chairman Jeremy Hunt, MP, said: “Early diagnosis of cancer is key to improving overall survival, but progress threatens a shortage of staff that threatens both diagnosis and treatment.

“We do not believe that the NHS is on track to achieve the government’s goal of early diagnosis of cancer by 2028, backed by the rating of our expert group, that progress in achieving this goal is insufficient.

“We are also concerned about the detrimental and long-term impact of the pandemic on cancer services with a real risk that the progress made in cancer survival will change.

“The mother told us about her 27-year-old daughter’s five-month struggle to be diagnosed with cancer – tragically she died three weeks after his appearance. Unfortunately, many lives will almost certainly end prematurely without prior diagnosis and timely treatment. That is why we call on the government and the NHS to act now to close the gaps in the workforce on which success depends. To date, we have found little evidence of serious efforts to do so. ”

Dr Ian Walker, executive director of policy for Cancer Research UK, said in light of the news: “This report highlights the impact of the government’s persistent inability to address the chronic shortage of NHS staff on people affected by cancer.

“Sajid Javid’s 10-year plan is a vital opportunity to address the challenges facing cancer services and move forward. We need a cancer plan that works for everyone, and with the right level of investment and responsibility, we can give people affected by cancer the best results – because the best is exactly what they deserve. ”

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