A damaging report has shown that thousands of cancer patients will die over the next decade because of the overwhelming treatment backlog caused by the pandemic.
About 19,500 people in England with cancer haven’t yet been diagnosed due to COVID associated disruption to the NHS.
According to an analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research and the CF healthcare consultancy, it could take more than a decade to clear this missing cancer patient backlog.
They calculated that even if stretched, hospitals conducted 5 per cent more treatments than pre-pandemic levels and that it would take until 2033 to catch up with the cancer accumulation.
But, with additional funding and personnel, that figure could be driven up by 15 per cent, allowing backlogs that could be cleared by next year.
The study lays bare the catastrophic impact of the pandemic on cancer diagnosis and treatment.
During the height of the COVID crisis, from March 2020 to February 2021, 369,000 fewer people than expected were referred to a specialist with suspected cancer, and the number of chemotherapy treatments also fell by 187,000, while there were 15,000 fewer radiotherapy treatments.
The reports suggest the backlog in chemotherapy and radiotherapy could take until 2028 and 2033 respectively to clear.
There’s also been a dramatic decrease in diagnostic procedures, with endoscopies down 37 per cent, MRI scans 25 per cent and CT scans ten per cent.
The report said that behind these statistics are thousands of people for whom it will now be too late to cure their cancer and that they think that the number of cancers diagnosed while they’re still highly treatable dropped from 44 per cent before the pandemic to 41 per cent last year.
Early diagnosis and immediate treatment are crucial to survival chances.
Parth Patel, an NHS doctor who headed the study, said the pandemic had destroyed years of growth in cancer survival rates.
He added that now the health service faces an immense backlog of care that threatens to disrupt services for well over a decade.
He said that the funding announced this month was just enough to keep the health service afloat but didn’t provide the funds to bring down pandemic backlogs as quickly as possible or transform service excellence.
And it’s not only cancer, people who have been told that they have Alzheimer’s and have to go for brain scans to work out what treatment they need still haven’t had their scans and it’s all being blamed on COVID.
Although some people are saying that people with Alzheimer’s should be left in peace, and that treating them would be a misuse of resources, and that we’re crippling the young to save the old, and that scans for this condition are unnecessary.
The NHS isn’t fit for purpose and is being run into terminal decline, and it won’t get any better.
All this money has been given to the NHS, and for what? Probably more managers. We have been attempting to save the NHS, and we cheered for our nurses with staff productively dancing in videos, and now we have GPs treating us like we’re cash cows, and this is why I never clapped like a demented seal.
They clapped and now they’re all clapped out.
Fools clattering pots and pans outside whilst everywhere you looked there was a perfect choreographed NHS dance routine, and now the NHS has become the No Hope Service – no hope of seeing a GP, no hope of cancer screening programmes, no hope of timely treatment.