A recent census performed by the Royal College of Radiologists has found that 7.5% of consultant posts were vacant across 62 major UK cancer centres. Currently services are being maintained by unsustainable large amounts of overtime.

Dr Tom Roques from the Royal College advised "The UK is seeing more and more fantastic innovations in cancer treatment from the introduction of new immunotherapy drugs to high energy proton beam radiotherapy. These doctors are vital to the rollout of these new therapies but we do not have enough of them and our workforce projections are increasingly bleak."

As well as the threat to new treatments, the Royal College said, the shortage of doctors would also be a factor in delays to patients receiving treatment. This comes on the back of recent NHS figures showing that patient waiting times were now at their highest levels since records began in 2009. Statistics show that during January 2019 only 84.4% of patients were treated or admitted through Accident & Emergency by the NHS in England within 4 hours which fell well short of the 95% threshold introduced in 2004. New proposals have indeed recently advised that the NHS are looking to scrap these thresholds.

The target time of 62 days in terms of cancer care is one which is affected by the escalating workloads and the long term vacant oncology posts. Dr Rosie Loftus, chief medical officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "We know that hard-working NHS professionals are already struggling to cope with escalating workloads, which are in part due to staffing challenges. Gaps in the workforce can lead to longer waits to start treatment, which in turn add to the worry and anxiety many people already feel following their diagnosis.”

Freeths solicitors have experience of medical negligence claims following delays in receiving treatment. Such delays in receiving effective treatment have the potential to lead to significant life changing damage and potentially death.

If you are concerned about delays suffered by you or a loved one which you feel has led to negligent care, please contact a member of our national team for a free, informal discussion:-

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent/Birmingham) on 0845 274 6830 karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes) 0186 578 1019 carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester/Nottingham) on 0845 272 5724 jane.williams@freeths.co.uk

For more information about this BBC news report please see the following link:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47616486