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HEALTHCARE UNION CRITICISES LABOUR’S LACK OF COMMITMENT TO ESSENTIAL NHS SERVICES

24 September 2014

Healthcare professionals have expressed dismay that no mention was made at the Labour Party conference of additional funding which is needed to ensure that diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy services for the treatment of cancer can be delivered quickly and efficiently.

The Society of Radiographers say they were expecting either Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, or Andy Burnham, the shadow health minister, to make a commitment that if the party wins the next general election, they would ensure that patients do not have to wait for ‘unacceptably long’ periods for diagnosis and treatment.

“Mr Burnham did mention that national cancer targets were being missed but didn’t say what would be done to ensure that this would not happen under a Labour administration,” said Warren Town, the Society’s director of industrial strategy.

“Patients need a detailed commitment that adequate funding of radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging services will happen if Labour wins the next election,“ he continued.

The Society won a unanimous vote at the recent TUC conference for pressure to be put on the government to raise investment in healthcare services to similar levels as other countries in the European Union.

One example the union used was that proton beam therapy will not be available in the UK until 2018, ten years after it was introduced in Germany. UK patients who need the treatment currently have to travel overseas at a cost to the NHS of more than £90,000 each. 

“There is also a growing issue around the provision of diagnostic services such as magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography,” Mr Town said.

“Demand is growing but there is no increasing funding of equipment or training of the additional staff who are needed.”
 
The Society is asking for an immediate review of all diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy services so that health and care services meet the needs of the population.

Notes for Editor

NOTES TO EDITOR 1. The Society of Radiographers represents 28,000 people who work in diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer. More than 19,000 radiographers work in the NHS. | 2. Nine out of 10 patients see a radiographer during their time in hospital. | 3. For further information please contact Warren Town on 07850 839442 or 020 7740 7209 or by email at warrent@sor.org. Or contact Dominic Deeson on 0795 784 5238 / 01227 469060 | 4. High resolution images are available on request.

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