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UK health service is failing lung cancer patients

Thoracic surgery in a crisis BMJ Volume 324, pp 376-7

Less than 10% of lung cancer patients in the United Kingdom receive effective treatment because of a dire shortage of specialist thoracic surgeons, according to an editorial in this weeks BMJ.

Respiratory disease kills one in four people in the UK, nearly twice the European average, yet tackling respiratory illness is not a government priority, writes Professor Martyn Partridge of Imperial College London. This creates pressure on surgeons and prevents many patients getting the vital treatment they need.

A new report from the British Thoracic Society and the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland calls for immediate action to double the number of thoracic surgeons and increase investment to meet European average standards.

The time has now come to double the number of thoracic surgeons in the UK by welcoming more from overseas, retraining surgeons in other fields, and encouraging the young into this specialty, says the author. We should look at delivering care in different ways so that the limited number of doctors can be targeted at specialties such as thoracic surgery, where the need is desperate, he concludes.


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Contact: Emma Wilkinson
ewilkinson@bmj.com
44-20-7383-6529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
14-Feb-2002


Page: 1

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