22 October 2021
Mia Rosenblatt, Associate Director of Policy, Evidence and Influencing at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“Cancer nurses are vital for patients, helping them to access the treatment, care and support they need at every step of the way - particularly for people with incurable secondary breast cancer who are on lifelong treatment and often have very complex support and care needs.
“The shortage of cancer nurses reported today adds to our existing concerns - for too long thousands of people with secondary breast cancer have been left to navigate their treatment pathway alone, denied access to a clinical nurse specialist. Even prior to the pandemic, over a quarter (27%) of people living with this incurable form of the disease were not given the name of a nurse at diagnosis.1
“At a time when we hope to see more patients entering the healthcare system following the huge impacts inflicted on breast cancer diagnosis by the pandemic, we are seriously concerned that patients who’ve received this devastating news will be deprived of the care and support they so badly need due to shortfalls in staffing that are also a legacy of the pandemic.
“A fully resourced workforce is the critical backbone for improving patients’ lives and the government must seize the opportunity presented by next week’s Spending Review to address the immense pressures on our already overstretched workforce to give all cancer patients the best possible care, and ultimately the best chances of survival.
“Anyone can speak to our expert nurses for support and information by calling our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000.”
Notes to Editors
1. Breast Cancer Now, ‘Until Things Change: Unsurvivors’, 2019