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WATCH: Report criticises cancer treatment in Cumbria

A patients' group in Cumbria says some people are facing unacceptable delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

A Healthwatch survey found nearly a third of respondents in Copeland visited their GP five or more times before being diagnosed. Health managers say they welcome the report but question whether the reality is as bad as the survey's findings suggest. Katie Hunter reports.

NHS issues response to Healthwatch report on cancer treatment services in Cumbria

Credit: PA

NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, (UMBHT) and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUHT) have responded to a report into Cumbria’s cancer services by Healthwatch.

All three NHS organisations say they agree improvements are needed and insist that efforts are being made to deliver them.

The organisations also stress that ensuring access to high quality cancer services for people living in Cumbria is a priority for all partners within the local NHS.

Healthwatch has requested a response to its report within 20 days, and a comprehensive response will be provided and made public.

“The CCG welcomes the report and recognises some of the issues within the report. I think it is important to reassure people of our own findings which show a different and more positive picture. The CCG conducted an audit of 2,300 patients diagnosed with cancer with only 86 of those visiting their GP five or more times before being referred. Over 500 were not diagnosed through their GP but following a screening test or an emergency hospital admission.

“The CCG works closely with its partners to flag up issues regarding waiting times and how these can be improved. Our priority is to improve the health economy of Cumbria and we are working hard to instigate the changes needed to ensure delivery of robust, safe, high quality and affordable services. The key message here is that early diagnosis is vital in the fight against cancer and we need to ensure our clinical staff are trained in recognising symptoms. We will be working with Healthwatch and our partners to encourage people to attend screenings when requested and to see a GP if they feel they have symptoms of cancer.”

– Dr Hugh Reeve, Interim Chief Clinical Officer for the CCG

'Nothing was changing her mind'

A five-year-old girl from Carlisle had her long hair cut short to help young cancer patients.

Amy Renwick's haircut has raised £1,000 for charity, and she has donated the hair to the Little Princess Trust, a charity that makes wigs for children undergoing cancer treatment.

Her mother has said she is proud of her daughter, who was determined to go through with the charity effort after making the decision late last year.


5-Year-old girl cuts hair for cancer charity

Amy having her hair cut off Credit: ITV Border

A five-year-old girl from Carlisle has raised £1000 and had her long hair cut short to help young cancer patients.

Amy Renwick's locks will now be donated to the Little Princess Trust which makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due to their treatment.

Her mother says it was all Amy's idea.

Oh it's just amazing , I was so surprised when she said she wanted to do it. Nothing was changing her mind, she's stuck at it since before Christmas and not changed her mind so really really proud."


Local charity offers personalised cancer support

Three new services will be offered by the charity Sandra founded Credit: ITV Border

Three new projects designed to offer personalised support to those suffering from cancer are being launched by a charity in Cumbria.

The Odyssey Foundation will now offer services including counselling, healthy eating workshops and rehabilitation programmes.

Sandra Jones founded the charity after being diagnose with cancer herself in 2011.

It became a registered charity in 2014 and has since raised twenty thousand pounds to fund the projects.

What is the Macmillan Cancer Charity?

Organisers of a Carlisle coffee morning hope to raise more than £1,000 for the Macmillan Cancer Charity.

Here's a quick summary of the charity, so you know where your money is going:

  • Founded in 1911, the charity helps people with cancer by providing practical, emotional and financial support. This can be anything from a lift to hospital, to a grant to pay for heating bills.
  • 98% of income comes from donations, so charity events like today's coffee morning in Carlisle are vital.
  • Last year they raised nearly £190m. £121.7m went on services for people affected by cancer, with the largest portion going towards healthcare. The remaining money was spent on governance and fundraising.
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