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NHS postcode lottery now limits access to cancer treatment

Published on 10/11/2011

Where you live in England will affect your chance of surviving cancer, as the latest example of the NHS postcode lottery shows that patients in the North of England without health insurance are three times less likely to get radiotherapy than those in the South.

The Radiotherapy Dataset Annual Report by the Department of Health, based on data from England’s 28 cancer networks, shows a massive variation in access to radiotherapy across the country.

Radiotherapy uses high energy x-rays to treat many different types of cancer, and can be used to destroy a tumour or control symptoms by making it smaller and relieving pain.

94% of suitable NHS cancer patients in the North West London Cancer Network receive radiotherapy. The cancer death rate in Kensington and Chelsea, part of the network, is 120 per 100,000 people.

In staggering contrast, just 27% of all eligible patients in the North of England Cancer Network get radiotherapy treatment. Additionally, the cancer death rate in Middlesbrough, part of the network, is 228 per 100,000 people.

Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, Co Durham, said: “This postcode lottery for cancer treatment is risking the lives of cancer patients in the north.

“The Government need to address the issues prohibiting equal access to cancer treatment across England and halt their transfer of resources from the north to the south.”

This report follows a recent document by Public Health Manchester showing that the north is set to lose £100million in funding to tackle health inequalities, while southern Surrey will gain £61.4million.

Patients with private health insurance can avoid this latest example of the NHS postcode lottery, getting treatment at a time of their choice in a hospital of their choice, regardless of where they live.

Private medical insurance will also give patients access to advanced cancer treatments which may not be available for use on the NHS. Among the most advanced forms of radiotherapy treatment are “CyberKnife” machines. Costing £2.5million each, there are five in London.

Compare health insurance policies online now to ensure your life is not put at risk by the NHS postcode lottery.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  NHS and Hospitals
NHS postcode lottery now limits access to cancer treatmentWhere you live in England will affect your chance of surviving cancer, as the latest example of the NHS postcode lottery shows that patients    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

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