Macmillan Cancer Support is urging political parties to prioritise cancer care in the face of NHS staffing problems, after finding that there are now almost 3 million people living with cancer in the UK.
Macmillan Cancer Support published research earlier in November showing that nearly one in five (19%) of people recently diagnosed with or treated for cancer reported that their healthcare professional appeared to have an unmanageable workload. Recent analysis by the charity of the national cancer registry has found that the estimated number of people living with cancer has climbed by 20% in five years and predicts that by 2025 there will be nearly 3.5 million people living with cancer in the UK. In the face of an increasing number of cancer patients and an NHS that ‘desperately needs additional doctors and nurses’, Macmillan Cancer Support is encouraging the government to address these issues.
Lynda Thomas, the charity’s chief executive, has said that political parties should tackle the staffing crisis in the NHS as a ‘day-one priority’. She went on to say, ‘I constantly hear heart-breaking stories from patients who are so grateful for their healthcare professionals but often don’t want to add to their workload with their needs or concerns. We need decision makers across the UK to prioritise funding and put in place the right plans, to ensure we have a cancer workforce fit for purpose both now and in the future’. In Scotland, Macmillan Cancer Support have recently announced an £18 million joint project, the Transforming Cancer Care programme, with the Scottish government that aims to give all cancer patients access to a support worker and generally improve the efficiency and efficacy of the cancer care system. This will make Scotland the first UK country to offer a guarantee of support for those living with cancer.