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Cancer waiting times linked to ‘GP crisis’

More than half of patients here who received an urgent GP referral for suspect cancer did not start treatment within the target time.
According to new figures from the Department of Health in September 2019, 48 percent of patients started treatment with the 62 day target waiting time.
With many cancer patients from Fermanagh travelling considerable distances for cancer treatment, Cllr Adam Gannon said more must be done reduce target times.
“The wait time from cancer being potential to confirmed is incredibly stressful for the person and the family. Given the prevalence of mental health difficulties at the minute, although 62 days is the target we need to look at reducing it. We should also look at what counselling and support is available during that time.”
Cllr Gannon added that people from Fermanagh are likely to be some of those missing the target time due to a ‘GP crisis’.
Speaking about GP services he said, “It is very hard to get a GP appointment and GPs have massive work loads despite them trying their very best. I would say that disproportionately affects people here over areas such as Belfast, but obviously it is not good across the board.
“To put it simply we need to train more GPs and we need to do it urgently. That won’t fix the problem in the short term. We need to increase wages available for GPs and use that as an incentive to recruit across the UK and Ireland and beyond.
“As well as that we need to be looking at a total reform of our GP services including moving it that they are no longer effectively private operators, that they are brought in under the NHS and we have a publicly run GP service which would prevent a GP crisis.
“It will also prevent isolation for GPs who are working as a one doctor GP practice doing a massive work load,” Cllr Gannon added.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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