A new poll has said that the NHS lacks enough staff and equipment to provide people with the adequate cancer care they deserve.
The YouGov survey of almost 2,500 adults for Cancer Research UK found 75% of people agreed with the statement: “I don’t think the health service has enough staff or equipment to see, test and treat all the people with cancer who need to be seen, tested and treated.”
Of the respondents who had cancer themselves, 76% agreed with the statement.
The poll also found that 80% of people who knew somebody who has had the disease did not think the NHS had the resources to meet demand.
Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, Michelle Mitchell, said: “It’s deeply troubling that those who have close encounters with cancer think NHS services are underequipped and understaffed.
“The Health Secretary’s upcoming 10-year plan is the perfect opportunity to bring the UK’s cancer outcomes in line with similar countries around the world.
“We need a plan that works for all, with much greater investment in the workforce and accountability for the Government.
“This is what cancer patients deserve and without it, the doctors and nurses needed to quickly diagnose and treat cancer, and ultimately save lives, will remain under immense pressure.”
In March, just 67% of people in England were diagnosed and started cancer treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral, below the 85% target, which has not actually been met since 2015.
According to Cancer Research UK, pressure on diagnostic services is a key reason why there are delays, despite more people being referred for tests.
Chief clinician at Cancer Research UK, Professor Charles Swanton, said: “I have worked in the NHS for 23 years and it’s difficult to watch the continuous deterioration of services.
“In the UK, we have world-leading research, and we should be aiming for cancer services which match that in the upcoming 10-year plan.
“Cancer incidence rates in the UK are increasing so the pressure on services is only going to grow.
“I would argue NHS staff are motivated by wanting to help people, but right now, there simply isn’t the time for them to develop those invaluable patient relationships.