Patients are waiting far too long for the results of their scans and for cancer treatments. The new Government must act to stop these waits and stop the worry.
The RCR is asking the new Government to invest properly in clinical oncology and radiology services. This means providing:
People to deliver the service
The current workforce in imaging, cancer care and intervention is too small. Demand for diagnostic scans, cancer treatment in an aging population, and interventional treatments continues to increase. The number of qualified staff available to support patient care is not keeping up.
We need a larger workforce to reduce the worry patients feel waiting for test results. We need a larger workforce to ensure patients are treated quickly, before their disease has a chance to spread. We need a larger workforce to improve outcomes by rapid adoption of new, less invasive therapies.
Space to deliver the service
Healthcare is delivered in buildings that are unable to fit in either state of the art technological advances or the multiprofessional teams in which care is now delivered.
We need major investment in NHS buildings to improve capacity. This will speed up diagnosis and treatment for all diseases, including cancer and reduce patient worry whilst waiting to be seen.
Technology to deliver the service
Technological advances in scanners, radiotherapy machines and the software needed to run them have revolutionised imaging, cancer therapy and interventional treatments.
We need a rolling programme of investment in machines and the programmes to run them. State of the art equipment is essential for faster diagnosis and treatment. Patient waiting times will be reduced and patients need not worry about the quality of the service they receive.
IT connectivity to deliver the service
The NHS is fragmented across primary and secondary care. Patients travel seamlessly between services, but their information does not.
We need enhanced IT connectivity so that all data, including imaging, effortlessly follows patients. Duplication will be reduced, saving time and money, reducing patient and doctor anxiety that something will be overlooked.
Safeguard the service from the risks of Brexit
Uncertainty over Brexit has caused significant worry for patients and staff alike. Threats include a reduced workforce, uncertainty over research and the supply of vital medicines and other products, possibly resulting ini ncreased waiting times and poorer outcomes for patients.
We need the next Government to ensure the NHS and patient care are not jeopardised by Brexit.