Nearly 20,000 people in England were not diagnosed with cancer when they should have been because of pressures on the NHS brought on by the coronavirus pandemic
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It could take a decade for the NHS to clear its cancer treatment backlog after the pandemic, according to researchers.
A damning report reveals 19,500 people in England with the disease have not been diagnosed when they should have been.
Even if “stretched” hospitals achieve 5% more treatments than pre-pandemic, it will still take until 2033 to clear the “missing patients backlog”.
The Institute for Public Policy Research think tank’s report said: “Behind these statistics are thousands of people for whom it will now be too late to cure their cancer.”
Research fellow Dr Parth Patel, an NHS doctor, said: “The pandemic has severely disrupted cancer services, undoing years of progress.
“Clearing the backlog before the next general election looks unlikely with the way the NHS is resourced.”
The Government pledged NHS England £15.8billion over three years via the new health and care levy. NHS leaders had said it needed £30bn to clear the backlog and “live with Covid”.
The IPPR report said cancer cases diagnosed while highly curable at stages one and two fell from 44% pre-Covid to 41% last year.
There was a 37% drop in NHS endoscopies, a 25% drop in MRI scans and a 10% drop in CT scans between March 2020 to February 2021, and 369,000 fewer people than expected were referred to a specialist with suspected cancer.
There were 187,000 fewer chemotherapy treatments than expected and 15,000 fewer radiotherapy treatments than expected.
The report, drafted with the CF health consultancy, found if the NHS was resourced to increase cancer activity to 15% above pre-pandemic levels, the backlog could be cleared by next year.
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Vaccinations have prevented an estimated 123,100 deaths, according to Public Health England.
The UK reported 182 more deaths yesterday within 28 days of a positive test and 36,710 more confirmed cases.
Public Health England announced that the vaccination programme in England is now estimated to have prevented 123,100 deaths, up from 112,300 at the previous estimate.
The UK reported 182 more deaths yesterday(Thur) within 28 days of a positive test. There were 36,710 more confirmed Covid-19 cases.