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Alex voices support for lung cancer nurses

Stockton North Labour MP, Alex Cunningham, has met with lung cancer nurse specialists in Parliament to hear their concerns about how cutbacks were affecting the care lung cancer patients are receiving.

Lung cancer nurse specialists play a vital role in the delivery of high quality care and treatment to patients and are in an ideal position to provide holistic care for patients, ensuring all care needs are addressed from referral to diagnosis, through treatment and survivorship, and including end-of-life care.  However, financial pressures are making it harder for lung cancer nurse specialists to make sure that lung cancer patients receive the care they need.

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation (RCLCF) and the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses (NLCFN) have published a report showing that, despite clear evidence of better outcomes for patients if they received care from a lung cancer nurse specialist, many patients do not receive care from lung cancer nurse specialists.

Alex said:

“I was very pleased to have the opportunity to meet with lung cancer nurse specialists, including from North Tees University Hospital, who provide invaluable care and know first-hand how important this is for people with lung cancer.

“Yet, despite the wealth of evidence showing the benefits of receiving care from a lung cancer nurse specialist, there are not enough lung cancer nurse specialists to make sure all patients receive the highest possible quality of care.  Worryingly, in some areas, patients never see a lung cancer nurse specialist.

“We must ensure that every lung cancer patient can see a lung cancer nurse specialist at every stage of their care and treatment.  We cannot allow finances to compromise patient care and I will be urging local services to ensure that patients are able to access these specialist services.”

Paula Chadwick, Chief Executive of RCLCF, said: “Every year over 40,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer.  It remains the deadliest form of cancer in the UK, killing 35,000 people every year.”

“Receiving the right treatment, at the right time, can make all the difference.  We know that patients who receive support from lung cancer nurse specialists are nearly twice as likely to receive active anticancer treatment as those that do not receive such support.”

John White, Chair of the NLCFN, said: “The pressure placed on lung cancer nurse specialists is immense, as posts come under increasing threat due to austerity.  This is despite clear evidence that patients value their support.”