Robust primary care workforce is key to delivering best possible cancer care

Publication date: 07 September 2017

Responding to a report by Macmillan on the impact of primary care workforce pressures on cancer care, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"GPs and our teams can certainly empathise with some of the concerns highlighted by our colleagues at Macmillan today. None of us are strangers to intense workload and workforce pressures facing general practice across the country – and the potential impact this has on our patients.

"But it is testament to the hard work and dedication of GPs and our teams that we do everything we can not to let these challenges compromise the care we deliver to our patients, particularly those with serious conditions, including cancer.

"GPs are doing a good job of identifying and treating our patients with cancer – 75% of patients found to have cancer are referred after only one or two GP consultations despite many early stage cancers presenting in vague ways. And in the last five years the proportion of cancers diagnosed as an emergency has dropped from 25% to 20%.

"Today's figures should be a wake-up call that it isn't just GPs highlighting the pressures facing our profession – but charities and patients too.

"We desperately need the pledges made in NHS England's GP Forward View – including £2.4bn extra a year for general practice and 5,000 more GPs - to be delivered in full and as a matter of urgency. But we also need better access to new and improved diagnostic tools that can help GPs identify cancers that are more difficult to spot.

"Cancer is an enduring priority for the College, and we have worked with Cancer Research UK and Macmillan to develop resources to support GPs and our teams to deliver the care our patients with cancer need and deserve, at every stage of their illness."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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