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Cancer care fears raised over staff workloads

By Mark Edwards

The increasing workload for cancer care staff is affecting the level of care being delivered to patients, a report has said.

A Macmillan Cancer Support survey has suggested bigger workloads, increasingly complex patient needs and vacancies in key roles are creating "unrelenting pressure" on staff looking after UK cancer patients.

The survey of over 250 GPs and nurses working in primary care found that 52% are not confident the NHS workforce is able to provide adequate care to cancer patients, given the pressures they now face.

Some 37% said that existing workforce pressures meant some cancer patients are attending A&E because they can't get help elsewhere, while 44% said cancer patients were not always being treated as early as they should be.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK and Ireland without a cancer strategy.

Heather Monteverde, head of services for Macmillan Cancer Support in Northern Ireland, said: "The story of cancer care in 2017 so far across the UK is one of unrelenting pressure.

"Many hard-working doctors and nurses are seriously concerned about how the health service is coping with the pressures placed on it."

Caitlin McCoy, Macmillan clinical nurse specialist in Northern Ireland, said that it was "all too obvious" that the individual needs of patients are not being adequately met.

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