NHS Backlog for Missed Cancer Diagnoses May Hit 50,000

According to MacMillan Cancer Support, there have been close to 50,000 missed cancer diagnoses since the time of the first lockdown, with the charity warning that the number could increase drastically over the coming months due to winter pressures placed on the NHS. The charity have also commented that there is currently a shortage of qualified cancer nurses to assist in tackling the backlog, exacerbating the initial problem. The Express has the story.

The NHS is struggling to work its way through the number of people waiting for treatment which spiked during Government-imposed lockdowns, when citizens were told to avoid using health services where possible. And figures suggest that the situation will get much worse before it starts to get better, with upcoming cancer checks likely to add significantly to the patient waiting list.

Macmillan Cancer Support has estimated that more than 47,000 people in the UK have missed a cancer diagnosis since the first lockdown.

Amid warnings of new Covid variants and further disruption to the NHS this winter, the charity added that the number of missed diagnoses could increase further still.

Steven McIntosh, Executive Director of Advocacy and Communications at the charity, said: “Nearly two years into the pandemic, there is still a mountain of almost 50,000 people who are missing a cancer diagnosis.

“Thousands more are already facing delays and disruption as they go through treatment.”

In order to catch up with the number of people who should have started treatment since March last year, Macmillan Cancer Support estimated that NHS England would have to work at a staggering 110% capacity for 13 consecutive months.

McIntosh added: “While hard-working healthcare professionals continue to do all they can to diagnose and treat patients on time, they are fighting an uphill battle.

“Cancer patients are stuck, waiting in a system that doesn’t have the capacity to treat them fast enough, let alone deal with the backlog of thousands who have yet to come forward.”

The charity warned that a primary issue faced by the NHS in its challenge to work through the cancer backlog was a lack of cancer nurses.

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