Beat The Backlog - The Cancer Timebomb We Must Tackle in 2024

12 June  •  NHS
Beat The Backlog - The Cancer Timebomb We Must Tackle in 2024

The healthcare system in the UK has been placed under significant strain over the past few years. From the impact of Brexit to the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry as a whole is experiencing a severe skills shortage and extended patient waiting times. Cancer services is one key area that is dealing with significant pressure and has missed two of the three key targets for cancer waiting time standards. This has led to a backlog of undiagnosed and untreated cancer cases, which is set to have a significant impact on cancer patients in 2023 and beyond.

The Impact of the Backlog

The backlog in cancer services has led to delays in diagnosis and treatment for many cancer patients. NHS England has set a target that 85 % of people should receive treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral, and no one should wait more than 104 days for cancer treatment. However, the first five months of the 2022/23 period saw more than 8,100 people wait more than 104 days for urgent treatment.

The Fall-Out From the Pandemic

The fallout from the pandemic has exacerbated the backlog in cancer services. Many patients missed or delayed seeking medical help due to fear of catching COVID-19, or because they did not want to put additional strain on the healthcare system. This has led to an increase in the number of cancer cases that are diagnosed at a later stage. 2023 was the worst year for cancer waiting times in 11 years. This has increased the number of patients presenting with more advanced or metastatic cancer, which is more difficult to treat and has poorer outcomes.

The Government's Response

The government's response to the cancer time bomb has been multifaceted. In addition to investing in the recruitment and retention of skilled healthcare professionals, the government has committed to increasing funding for cancer services, expanding screening programs, and improving the availability of diagnostic testing. The implementation of new AI technology and £15.5 million of government funding aims to cut down waiting times by speeding up diagnosis of cancer cells. This new technology locates cancer cells 2.5 times faster than traditional methods used by doctors, which could help cut the backlog.

By addressing the root causes of the backlog and investing in cancer services, the government hopes to tackle the cancer timebomb and improve outcomes for cancer patients across the UK.

Addressing the Root Causes of the Backlog

To address the root causes of the backlog, the government is investing in recruiting and retaining skilled healthcare professionals across the industry. This is where Globe Locums comes in.

Globe Locums is a leading healthcare recruitment agency that can provide a pool of skilled healthcare professionals to deliver high-quality care and tackle the cancer timebomb. By partnering with Globe Locums for locum jobs, hospitals and clinics can increase their capacity to manage the backlog, reduce waiting times for patients, and provide ongoing care for cancer patients.

Partnering with Globe Locums for Locum Jobs

Globe Locums has an extensive network of over 60,000 skilled healthcare professionals, including nurses, radiographers, sonographers, biomedical scientists and other allied health professionals. Our rigorous compliance processes ensure that all candidates have the necessary qualifications and experience to deliver high-quality care. Additionally, our streamlined onboarding process ensures that candidates can start work quickly, helping hospitals and clinics manage the backlog more effectively.

By partnering with Globe Locums for locum jobs, hospitals and clinics can address the staffing shortages exacerbated by the pandemic, and reduce waiting times for patients. This is particularly important for cancer patients, who rely on timely diagnosis and treatment to improve their chances of survival.

Take Action to Beat the Backlog

The cancer time bomb is a significant challenge for the healthcare system in 2024. The impact of the backlog on cancer patients is clear, with many patients presenting with more advanced or metastatic cancer due to delayed or cancelled treatment. The fallout from the pandemic has exacerbated the problem, with fewer GP visits and missed or delayed cancer diagnoses. Urgent action is needed to address the issue, including investing in recruiting and retaining skilled healthcare professionals.

If you're a hiring manager in healthcare, we encourage you to join us in the fight against the cancer backlog. By partnering with Globe Locums, you can play an essential role in ensuring that healthcare services are adequately staffed and equipped to provide the best possible care for patients. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find the right staff to meet your needs and beat the backlog together.

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