A memo leaked to The Times this week has warned that the treatment of cancer patients at Churchill Hospital in Oxford is becoming unsustainable and will lead to a reduction in the level of care provided.

The head of chemotherapy for Oxford University Hospitals, Dr Weaver, who wrote the memo, explained that the shortage of suitably-trained nursing staff would necessitate a delay in treatment and a reduction in treatment for some patients, particularly those where treatment is about alleviating symptoms rather than curing the condition.

Understandably, patient groups and cancer organisations have expressed concern at this development.

Increasing numbers of people are expected to develop cancer in future years, putting an even greater strain on existing services.

In a recent article, the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing, Janet Davies, commented that “The RCN has been warning of under-investment in nursing staff for several years – now that underlying problem has developed into a full-blown crisis.”

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