latest health care news

22.10.19

Cancer patients’ health could be at risk due to NHS staff pressures, report warns

A new survey carried out on cancer patients by Macmillan Cancer Support has found that their physical and mental health is being harmfully impacted by current pressure on the NHS workforce.

300, 000 people in the UK are currently being treated for cancer. Nearly seven in ten people, recently diagnosed with or being treated for cancer, say they are not getting all the support they need with issues related to the disease.

Physical and emotional needs include issues such as depression, anxiety, pain and trouble sleeping. They are also nearly a third more likely to say they are not getting all the support they need with these types of issues.

Furthermore, around one in five people recently diagnosed with or being treated for cancer say the healthcare professionals who cared for them seemed to have an impracticable workload.

Patients who say the healthcare professionals they came into contact with seemed to be over-worked.

Making them around a third more likely to have physical and emotional needs that are not being addressed compared to staff with more realistic workloads.

Macmillan is concerned that this means that some patients are afraid to ask for information or support because they are worried about the NHS healthcare professionals looking after them, rather than putting their needs first.

In their report, Macmillan had spoken to Sarah Mills, 36, from London, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2018. She said:

“I’ve just had my routine scans to monitor for a cancer relapse and I have no idea when I’ll get my results. It makes me concerned for the future. If something was wrong, would I be told? It’s extremely draining. My CNS is always insanely overloaded so it’s not her fault, but also there is no one else who can answer my questions. You feel alone. I’m still in the danger zone with my cancer and I just want to know when they’ll be able to tell me what they saw when they looked inside me.

This is not the fault of any radiographer, nurse or administrator. They are just human beings who can only fit so much into a certain number of hours. The fact is there are not enough of them to keep up.”

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