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Cancer Care in United Kingdom!!


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How your postcode decides cancer care

Nov 27 2007 by Helen Hunt, Liverpool Echo

CANCER patients in Merseyside are suffering from a “postcode lottery” when it comes to how much is spent on their care, it has been revealed.

Figures show Knowsley spends twice as much on cancer care for its patients than those living in Sefton.

Today local Tories were critical of the differences and accused the government of not fulfilling its promise to end healthcare inequalities.

During the financial year 2006-7, Sefton Primary Care spent £7,592 on cancer care per patient.

This compares with £7,686 per cancer patient spent by Wirral PCT, £9,762 spent by Liverpool PCT and £16,819 spent by Knowsley, which is the second highest spender on cancer care in the country.

Cllr Leah Fraser, formerly of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the new Conservative candidate for Wallasey, said: “These figures are very worrying, cancer spending per patient in Knowsley is almost £10,000 higher than in Wirral, even though we have excellent facilities at Clatterbridge.

“We were promised in the government’s Cancer Plan in 1999 that these kind of discrepancies would be tackled.

“Yet delays in diagnosis remain and it appears that cancer care is now a postcode lottery.”

The Tories obtained the cancer spending figures by Primary Care Trust for the whole of the country.

The average cancer patient in England received £8,437 per head.

The figures found Oxfordshire spent the least per patient per year, just £5,182 a year. Patients in Nottingham fared better receiving more than three times as much, £17,028.

Shadow Health Minister Mark Simmonds said: “The government’s own statistics have revealed a huge disparity in funding for cancer services.

“This is outrageous and yet another example of ministers mismanaging the NHS, taking no account of cancer patients, while creating a two-tier service.”

Meanwhile, doctors are demanding to know what impact the lottery of care is having from area to area.

President of the Royal College of Physicians, Prof Ian Gilmore, who works at Liverpool’s Royal hospital, said: “We need to find out what these figures mean for cancer patients living in different parts of the country.”

Research shows that people living in the poorest areas of the country are most likely to suffer certain cancers linked to lifestyle, such as lung cancer from smoking.

The government gives these areas extra money to cover these needs.

No-one was available from the NHS North West for comment.


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