New Figures Highlight 10,000 Cancer Cases Are Spotted Late Due To Postcode Lottery
Specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have called for more to be done to put an end to the postcode lottery on cancer diagnosis, following new research released by Cancer Research UK today.
New figures from the charity suggest that almost 10,000 cancer patients are being diagnosed too late due to severe variations in NHS care across the UK.
Almost 50% of all cancer patients in Merseyside were diagnosed in stage three or four, whereas in Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire the figure was just over 40%, resulting in nearly a 10% difference between the regions.
The worst areas of late diagnosis across the UK were Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Durham, Darlington and Tees, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, and Kent and Medway.
A list of the top areas are Bath, Gloucester, Swindon and Wiltshire, Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, East Anglia, Bristol, Somerset and South Gloucestershire, and Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
Experts suggest that the variations in cancer diagnosis are partly due to GP’s failing to spot less obvious warning signs and also not referring patients for urgent hospital appointments. There are also demands on family doctors to reduce the number of hospital referrals.
Specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell represent many people who have suffered as a result of delays in their diagnoses, particularly where cancer is concerned. These incidents have had a huge impact on their lives and the lives of their families.
Lisa Jordan, Partner and Head of the medical negligence team at Irwin Mitchell, said:
“More needs to be done to ensure all cancer patients receive the same level of care and treatment across the UK, no matter where they live. We see all too often the devastating effects cancer can have on people. The victims of this disease deserve the best care possible. Treating cancer as early as possible is crucial to improving the chances of recovery and survival so it is crucial that action is taken to improve care in the worst performing regions.
“The figures published by Cancer Research UK highlight a worrying difference in care across the UK, and have hopefully exposed the desperate need for urgent action to be taken to address the issue.
“There are numerous factors contributing to such a variation across the UK and we have seen ourselves that too often early warning signs are not spotted soon enough or are mistaken for other ailments. It is important that the NHS strives to establish a consistent level of care to ensure everyone across the UK receives the best treatment for such a devastating disease.”
Lisa Jordan - Partner