Shocking figures revealed that under-performing NHS trusts are failing in the diagnosis of around 20000 cancer patients annually, during the vital early stages.
According to Cancer Research UK, only about 54% of cancers receive early diagnoses. However, the best-performing hospitals are diagnosing 60% of cases early.
If the failing trusts in Britain were reaching the same targets as the best trusts, an additional 19000 people would receive an early diagnosis, thereby increasing their survival prospects.
Andy Burnham, the Labour shadow health secretary, said early diagnosis was vital if Britain intends matching the best performing European countries on cancer survival.
He said Labour’s plans would ensure that an added 40000 people would receive early diagnoses earlier, each year. He stated that Labour would guarantee cancer test results from doctors within one week in a drive to increase early diagnosis.
Mr Burnham stated that he is aware of the devastating effect breast cancer can have as he has witnessed it in his own family. Through this he has learned that early diagnosis offers patients the best mechanism in fighting the cancer. However, in the UK, 25% of cancers are diagnosed in the A&E units and that indicates that Britain is not doing enough to diagnose cancer.
Mr Burnham has called for a ‘national discussion’ around the increase of taxes to allow the NHS to assume responsibility for old age care, rather than leaving it up to local councils.
He stated that Labour would be prepared to spend an additional £2.5bn annually to help the NHS take over social care services from Town Halls.
He added that if the situation remains as it currently is and the Government’s plans are carried out, the NHS will experience a full blown crisis in the next parliament, drowning under a toxic combination of privatisation and budget cuts.
According to Mr Burnham, Labour will put more money into the NHS because it needs to be reshaped into a 21st century service.
He confirmed that he would not be targeting Labour leadership in the future. He stated his loyalty to their leader, Ed Milliband, and stated that the NHS will be a huge priority for the leader during the upcoming election.
He added that Labour has a commitment to repealing the Health and Social Care Act.
Image Credit: Sam Blackman