More Nurses Needed To Cope With UK's Biggest Cancer KillerMain Category: Lung Cancer
Article Date: 29 Jan 2013
There are not enough specialist nurses to cope with the demands of the UK's biggest cancer killer, according to a new report.
More than 40,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year with fewer than one in 10 likely to survive beyond five years.
However, despite the poor outcomes for the disease, experts fear that specialist nurse posts may be cut as part of NHS cutbacks.
The report, from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses, calls for current posts to be protected and increased in number in order to help improve survival rates.
Dr Jesme Fox, Medical Director of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: "Lung cancer nurse specialists are vital if we are to start improving survival rates for the UK's biggest cancer killer.
"Research shows us that patients who have a specialist nurse are twice as likely to receive treatment as those who don't.
"Yet our report shows that some patients are not being seen by a specialist nurse at all and that nurses are struggling to cope with their increasing workloads.
"NHS commissioners must ensure there are sufficient numbers of these specialists in place and that all patients have equitable access to these nurses, regardless of where they live."
John White, Chair of the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses, added: "Specialist nursing posts are often placed under threat during times of financial austerity, despite evidence that patients value the services provided by specialist nurses greatly.
"With the ongoing financial pressures in the NHS, we are concerned that these posts may be threatened.
"As this report illustrates, specialist nurses are essential to the delivery of high quality care and improved outcomes for patients.
"Posts must be maintained and, where possible, the numbers increased so all patients with lung cancer have access to a specialist nurse."
According to the report, only 80% of lung cancer patients are seen by a specialist nurse.
In England, there is only one lung cancer nurse specialist per 161 patients and in Scotland this figure rises to 200.
The report found that increasing caseloads and paperwork were affecting nurses' ability to provide high quality care for their patients.
It also recommended that;
Lung Cancer Facts
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