Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Now, said:
“Today’s report is the starkest warning yet that the government’s failure to tackle the crisis facing the cancer workforce, risks pushing cancer diagnosis and treatment to the brink of disaster.
“Despite the tireless work of the NHS, chronic staff shortages are denying people with breast cancer the best chance of early diagnosis and timely access to life-changing treatments.
“Severe shortfalls of clinical breast oncologists – who play a pivotal role in delivering treatments – mean some breast cancer services are already struggling to ensure new treatments reach the people who desperately need them. We fear this could have a tragic impact on survival for breast cancer patients. With almost half of clinical breast oncologists set to retire within the next decade, the situation is set to get much worse.1
“Publication of the government’s long overdue NHS workforce plan cannot come soon enough. Crucially, it must provide significant investment in growing, retaining and supporting the breast cancer workforce. Only then can we avoid seeing decades of progress unravelling and instead, guarantee people with breast cancer the best chances of survival, now and in future.
“Anyone looking for support or information can call our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000 to speak to one of our expert nurses.”
- Data collected as part of the Royal College of Radiologists Census 2022 highlights that 46% of consultant breast clinical oncologists are expected to retire in England within 10 years.