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 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.”
A health watchdog has launched a review of cancer services in Cumbria over concerns about diagnosis and treatment delays in the county.Read the full story ›
More than £50 million has been paid out in compensation by Cumbria's hospital trusts over the last six years.
Samantha Parker reports.
More than £50 million has been paid out to patients over the last six years. But one Trust says the number of claims is reducing overall.Read the full story ›
Ahead of this Easter weekend, the NHS in Cumbria has asked the public to plan their healthcare to help ease the pressure on hospital services.
Advice includes keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet, and visiting your pharmacist before visiting A&E.
“Easter is another time in the year that hospitals and Cumbria Health on Call Services (CHOC) can experience a high number of patients and we are again urging everyone to think before visiting A&E or calling CHOC.
“Your local pharmacy can be an excellent place in offering expert, confidential advice and treatment for many minor health problems and the best medicines to treat them, visiting the pharmacist can save you time in the waiting room and help you feel better fast."
The public have also been reminded of the following if they feel they need to visit an out of hours centre:
- Ring first. Please do not walk into a busy out of hours centre as patients who have telephoned first and poorly patients will take priority.
- Do not attend a centre if you have symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea. Always ring for advice first.
- The GP out of hours service needs to be able to reach poorly patients quickly. If you can wait for advice from your own surgery then please do.
- CHoC cannot offer a repeat prescription service. This must be arranged with your own surgery. If you do run out of important medicine please ring for advice but to prevent this happening try to ensure you have a good supply before the Bank Holiday.
- Remember both Friday and Monday are bank holidays, be prepared, collect your repeat prescriptions well in advance. There is limited pharmacy opening time over the Easter period with only 1-2hours of opening in your area on Easter Sunday.
- The GP out of hours service will be very busy, only telephone if you have urgent needs. There may be delays ringing back with advice and appointment times. Do not keep re-contacting the service unless your symptoms have become worse.
For health advice, you can visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk/asap. CHoC are available by calling 03000 247 247.
Katie Hunter has been to a parent and baby group in Workington, to find out what they think of the review into maternity care in Cumbria and North Lancashire.
Find out what candidates from the major parties in Copeland made of the review into maternity care in Cumbria.Read the full story ›
Six options are listed. The preferred one says consultant-led services should stay at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland HospitalRead the full story ›
A report on the future of maternity services across Cumbria is due to be published this morning.
The trust which runs the West Cumberland Hospital has previously outlined various options including centralising a consultant-led maternity unit in Carlisle.
The report has been written by independent experts.