latest health care news

11.01.18

Hospital considers delaying chemo treatments due to staff shortages

A leaked memo to staff at Churchill Hospital in Oxford has suggested that chemotherapy could be delayed for patients, it has been reported.

The alleged proposal is apparently due to staff shortages, and could affect patients who are terminally ill.

Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, Sir Harpal Kumar, said that the organisation has been campaigning for the government to tackle cancer workforce shortages in the NHS for three years.

“It’s totally unacceptable that these shortages could lead to delays in patients getting cancer treatment,” he added.

Sir Kumar warned that if the government does not take immediate action, this may become a more widespread and severe problem.

“We need to see concrete action on the recent plan by Health Education England to tackle NHS staff shortages,” he continued.

“An extra 150,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer annually by 2035. This issue will not go away without decisive action.”

Trust describes claims as ‘inaccurate’

However, Oxford University Hospitals have called the suggestion that they are planning to deal or decrease chemotherapy at Churchill Hospital “inaccurate.”

A spokesperson for the trust said: “These news stories are based on an internal email from one of our clinicians that was shared with The Times newspaper.

“This email from Dr. Andrew Weaver sets out some of the challenges facing our chemotherapy service, with his ideas for how to tackle these issues, and invites constructive comments and alternative proposals from other cancer doctors and clinical staff.”

The trust said that no change has been made to its formal chemotherapy treatment policy, and that “no such changes have been made or will be made before thorough consideration has been given to all possible options.”

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