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Tag Archive: cancer

Unacceptable delays in hospital cancer treatment following urgent GP referrals impacts on 32,000 patients



It is completely unacceptable to see so many hospitals across England failing to meet the guidelines with regards to how quickly patients are seen following an urgent GP referral.

There has been so much positive work done in recent years with regards to raising patient awareness of many cancers and the importance of seeing a doctor as soon as possible with any concerns or symptoms.

Yet, despite this, and despite cancer treatment being made one of the priorities in the 10-year plan for the NHS, 94 out of 131 cancer services in England failed to meet guidelines over the time to start treatment following an urgent referral from a GP in 2018-19.

In total, more than 32,000 patients waited longer than 62 days for treatment to start, according to research by the BBC.

How can our health service repeatedly send out messages to people around the need to see a doctor as soon as possible if they have any symptoms of cancer and then keep people waiting beyond guidelines to be seen by specialists?

There can be nothing more worrying than being urgently referred over a possible cancer scare. It is a hugely worrying time for the patient themselves, and of course their loved ones.

The outlook for every patient always depends in part on how early any cancer is found and delays of an extra few days are unlikely to have a major impact on a patient’s prognosis.

However, extended delays running into weeks and months – or of course cases where specialists miss the cancer or misdiagnose another cause of illness, meaning the cancer remains untreated and allowed to develop to a more advanced stage – can make a huge difference to a person’s chances of fighting the illness.

Early diagnosis importantly helps doctors identify what treatment will work best, as early stage cancer which is small and only in one area may need surgery while an advanced-stage cancer, which has spread to other parts of the body, may need chemotherapy.

If that crucial stage of treatment is missed, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Worst performing trusts named

Hospitals are meant to start treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral by a GP, in at least 85% of cases.

However, the BBC says 94 out of 131 cancer services in England failed to do that during 2018-19 – compared with 36 five years ago.

The worst performing hospital trusts, with the lowest percentage of patients being seen within the 62 days, are named by the BBC as Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells (60.8%), Royal Wolverhampton (62.8%), Weston Area Health (67%), Southend University Hospital (67%), Bradford Hospitals (67.1%), University College London Hospitals (68.4%), Mid Essex Hospitals Services (68.5%), Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals (69.2%), East and North Hertfordshire (69.2%), East Kent Hospitals (70.7%).

NHS England has pointed to a 15% increase in urgent referrals in the past year in defence of the worrying statistics, whilst rapid diagnostic centres are being piloted at 10 UK locations, targeting is a diagnosis or the all clear within 28-days for patients with suspected cancer.

Such developments are welcome and good progress, but it is clear from today’s report that progress is needed at a much quicker rate, particularly given the rise in referrals, if our health service is to avoid letting people down when they need speedy, specialist health care the most.

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13/06/2019 No Comments

“I want other children with cancer to know they are not alone. There are lots of us fighting it”

Hope rooms with her dog


A girl who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 12 says she wants other young children who find themselves in a similar position to ‘know they are not alone’, and that they can find the support to help them adapt and live with the illness.

Hope Rooms clearly remembers being told the life-changing news that she had cancer, but admits that because of her young age at the time, the significance of her diagnosis was not something she was able to fully contemplate or understand.

Of course she knew it meant life would never be the same for her and her family, and that she faced the most difficult of times ahead if she was to overcome her illness, but initially, she simply didn’t want to face the reality.

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29/09/2015 No Comments

Doctors aren’t always right…so patients should be confident questioning care and diagnosis

Childhood Cancer awareness Month


By Lauren Dale, Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Hudgell Solicitors 

When we visit doctors and hospitals with our loved ones, we do so seeking reassurance and clarity. We usually want to know why they have been taken ill, what it means for their health, and what can be done to put them on the mend as soon as possible.

We essentially visit hoping for good news, and thankfully, in most cases, doctors and nurses have the answers we crave.

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14/09/2015 No Comments

Paralegal plans major fundraiser after potentially life-saving decision to protect herself from breast cancer

Breast Cancer now T-shirt


A paralegal who was told she has more than an 88 per cent chance of developing breast cancer is planning a major fundraising event to raise awareness and money to help in the fight against the disease.

Nicola Downey, who is based in Hudgell Solicitors’ London office, tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene, which means she has an 88.8 per lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, as well as a 60 per cent lifetime risk of ovarian cancer, compared to the 12 per cent risk faced by the general population.

Now, she has made the potentially life-saving decision to have a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in a major operation early next year.

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07/08/2015 No Comments

Too many cancers only diagnosed in A&E

A&E sign


A study published by The National Cancer Intelligence Network reports that almost a third of cancers in the over-70s are only diagnosed when a patient is admitted to hospital as an emergency.

The most frequent cancers in the over-70s to be diagnosed during an emergency admission include 70% of central nervous system cancers (which include brain cancers), 55% of pancreatic cancers and 52% of liver cancers.

The report suggests that for all cancer types, patients were much less likely to be alive a year later if they were diagnosed through emergencies, than if they were diagnosed at an earlier time.

The report highlights not only the need for patients to report any concerning symptoms to their GP, but also the necessity for early recognition by GP’s of symptoms that may indicate a potentially serious condition requiring further investigation.

You can find a link to the full story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19662456

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21/09/2012 No Comments

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