We must act now to prevent another public health crisis

Rutherford Health has announced that it is offering additional screening and diagnostic support to the NHS for cancer patients as it was revealed that there has been a 70% drop in the number of referrals for cancer patients.

Rutherford Health’s network of cancer centres have already been treating NHS patients as part of the agreement between the NHS and Independent sector to work together to ensure cancer patients receive the treatments they need. Despite this, there has been a 70% drop in referrals over the past month.

Professor Karol Sikora, chief medical officer at Rutherford Health, said: “We need to act immediately to get referrals up. That means ramping up screening and early diagnosis. We risk walking straight into another public health disaster if people with cancer have to stay home.”

“We know that cancer services are under a lot of strain, even in normal times we have capacity challenges. But we must try to bring some normality to our services or the strain on cancer care will get considerably worse in the months and years to come. In the meantime, it is crucial that the resources of the Independent sector are utilised to its fullest potential for both treatment and screening.”

“Patients who require advanced therapies such as proton beam therapy are already being delayed or being treated with less optimal treatments. This will only create further problems down the line. We have already lost a lot of time to cancer due to Covid-19 which we need to urgently make up.”

The NHS has launched an Open campaign to urge people who think they may have cancer to visit their GPs or local hospitals. The government has also stated its intention to restore NHS services that were hit by Covid-19, particularly cancer care. Rutherford Health has offered to assist NHS trusts with screening and diagnostic services to ensure that people with cancer are not being missed.

Mike Moran, CEO of Rutherford Health, said: “This is a daunting time for UK cancer care. We are potentially heading towards a huge crisis but with sufficient collaboration we can stem the coming tide. All of our centres are equipped with highly advanced diagnostic services. We are ready to help the NHS with diagnostics and treatment. We must not allow cancer care to become the next big crisis. If we act now we can prevent this from happening.”