Intended for healthcare professionals


NHS cancer diagnosis system is under strain and not meeting demand, experts warn

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 07 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4778
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

Experts claim that the current NHS system for diagnosing cancer in England is under serious strain and not prepared for an inevitable growth in demand in the next few years.

The charity Cancer Research UK published two new reports on 6 September both warning that NHS services for diagnosing cancer are underfunded and understaffed and that crucial waiting time targets are being missed.

The charity said that early diagnosis was vital in improving cancer outcomes and was a priority area in the new NHS cancer strategy announced in July.1 That strategy set the aim that, by 2020, 95% of patients referred for testing by a GP should get a definitive diagnosis of cancer or have …

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