New Plan To Speed Up Diagnosis Of Cancer

New Plan To Speed Up Diagnosis Of Cancer

A new NHS target to speed up cancer diagnosis times has been announced by the Government.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt wants patients to be given a definitive diagnosis or the "all clear" within 28 days of a GP referral.

The target, which will be introduced from 2020, could assist save up to 11,000 lives a year, according to the Independent Cancer Taskforce.

Five hospitals across the UK will pilot the programme before it is rolled out nationally.

If the target is met Britain would become one of the first countries in the world to adhere to such a timetable.

Some £300m will be invested to assist pay for the training of an additional 200 staff to carry out endoscopies.

This will be alongside an extra 250 gastroenterologists the NHS had already committed to train.

Mr Hunt said the newly-trained staff would be able to carry out over a half a million more endoscopies in the next five years.

"This is approximately improving the processes," he said. "If you look at the reason why sometimes we're not diagnosing things as quickly as possible it's approximately capacity in the system.

"It's approximately not having enough people to do endoscopies & not having enough cancer consultants who can make those judgements. Today's announcement is approximately increasing that capacity."

Margaret Procter, 56, from Stoke on Trent, was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer three years ago.

She has now been given the all clear yet had an agonising wait for her results. She welcomed the news of a shorter timescale for diagnosis.

"Waiting for the results was the worst. Sleepless nights & worrying," she said.

"But as shortly as they told me I could have surgery & the chemotherapy could start that was it. I thought 'right, I've received to start thinking positive now I've received to beat this'.

"Once you start having treatment it does turn things around. It was the waiting & not doing anything that kept me thinking I'm going to die."

Mr Hunt has moreover announced new measures for "tailored recovery packages" for cancer survivors.

In addition around 20,000 people a year will have their cancers "genetically tested" to identify the most effective treatments.

Source: “Sky News”