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Top doctors warn that lack of funding in UK laboratories threatens cancer treatment

Leading physicians warn that a long-standing lack of funding for UK testing services could delay cancer diagnosis and treatment, as the NHS struggles to clear the untreated portion of large numbers of cases. I am.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Professor Michael Osborn, president of the Royal College of Pathologists, also emphasized the “labor crisis”, with a quarter of histopathologists diagnosing illnesses over the age of 55 more trainees. Is urgently needed.

Due to insufficient investment in digital technology to read tissue samples remotely, the NHS has the resources to address the significant increase in workload as medical services struggle to deliver treatment delayed by Covid-19. Was in short supply.

“Without additional investment in pathology, we can’t get rid of the backlog, but we’re spending a lot of money in other areas of health care,” Osborne said. “Providing inadequate pathology has the ability to completely interfere with everything the government wants to do in medical care.”

In September, the government added £ 5.4 billion to the NHS in the second half of the fiscal year to cover Covid’s costs, including an additional capital of £ 500 million. Separately, under the new health and social care tax, an additional £ 15.8 billion was allocated to pay running costs and reduce the waiting list over the next three years.

However, Osborne said discussions on the untreated portion of treatment and the allocation of this funding tend to focus on the shortage of front-line staff such as nurses and surgeons and the lack of beds.

“Laboratory and diagnostic services are often very forgotten, so if policy makers and those with purse strings don’t deal with this, surgery, endoscopy, nurses, etc. in advance. Investing in something that is easy to see is, of course, very important, but there is a risk of forgetting to support it, in pathology, “he added.

All areas of pathology covering 17 different disciplines were affected. “All aspects are emphasized, and all aspects are involved in overcoming the backlog,” Osborne said.

The most worrisome pinch point was in cytopathology, an area of ​​the field that provides information for diagnosing cancer and determining the best course of treatment. Cytopathology is also used to assess the genetic makeup of tumors, allowing clinicians to prescribe personalized medications for each patient.

Even before the pandemic, poor staffing and outdated IT systems caused “serious problems” that affected the speed and efficiency of specimen booking and tracking, Osborne said. “If it doesn’t end up in the patient’s notes, the result is pretty pointless.”

But until Covid attacked, most laboratories were “about achieving turnaround time goals.” These are now getting worse, he warned. The pathology department was accustomed to working with limited resources, but now “we had to prioritize more urgent cases over less urgent cases.”

He said there was a real risk that the cancer would be picked up only when treatment reached a more advanced stage, “more important, more difficult, more expensive, less likely to survive.”

The Ministry of Health said: “Cancer diagnosis and treatment remains a top priority, and most cancer services operate above pre-pandemic levels.”

The government has provided “record investments to address unprocessed portion” and is also developing “more efficient ways to provide additional appointments and treatments” including 40 new regional diagnostic centers. rice field.

Top doctors warn that lack of funding in UK laboratories threatens cancer treatment

Source link Top doctors warn that lack of funding in UK laboratories threatens cancer treatment

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