Report Card 2009
Government Still Marked 'Bottom of the Class for Lung Cancer
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundaion Report Card highlights substantial inequalities in Lung Cancer Care Across UK
On Monday 8th June 2009 The Roy castle Lung Cancer Foundation (RCLCF) launched their latest Report Card, which shows that lung cancer services across the Uk are still subject to substantial inequalities. Despite lung cancer's status as the UK's biggest cancer killer, patients are not being consitently offered the levels of care or services needed to help them effectively manage their disease and live for as long as possilbe following diagnosis.
The Report Card is a comprehensive assessment of the Government's performance across key areas of lung cancer management and patient care, with grades awardsed across several categories including equity of care, funding for research and availability of specialist nurses. The results show that overall, there has been very little improvement in the Government's grades since the original Report Card launched in 2007 - with six out of the eight catagories showing either no change, or actually achieving a lower score.
Rosemary Gillespie, chief Executive of the RCLCF said: "The Report Card has shown that lung cancer services in England and Wales still remain low on the Govenment's agenda and it is vital that the government now priorities improving all aspects of lung cancer services and makes a stronger commitment to patients."
A key area of concern is the persistence of postcode lotteries in the standard of lung cancer care - both geographically and socially, with findings showing that patients in particular areas of the country, or from lower socioeconomic backgrounds receive a poorer level of care than their counterparts in other regions or from higher social backgrounds. These mirror the data from the recently published LUCADA audit and provide additional evidence that lung cancer patients are still being offered an unacceptably poor level of care.
Although progress has been made in ensuring lung cancer cases are discussed by a Multi-Disciplinary Team, the Report Card reveals that UK survival rates - which are amongst the worst in Europe - are "completely unacceptable" given that lung cancer remains the UK's leading cause of cancer death for men and woman. Government research funding for lung cancer has not improved since 2007 and remains "woefully insufficient", with just 4% of all site-specific cancer research being dedicated to lung cancer, according to the National Cancer Research Institute. This is grossly inadequate in comparison with the 34,000 patients who die from the disease each year in the UK.
The Report Card will be reviewed on an annual basis when the Foundation will once again score the Government on how it is peforming in the eight key areas. Each year the scores will be compared to assess whether any improvements have been made.
"I have had a good experience with my lung cancer journey, because I was supported by a lung cancer specialist nurse and had a great team looking after me" said Mick Tilbury, a lung cancer patient from Northampton. "It made such a difference to my life and I think it's completely unacceptable that there are patients like me who aren't getting access to these vital services."