The King's Fund welcomed today's report by the National Audit Office which shows improvements in how patients rate their experiences of NHS cancer services, but said it was a real cause for concern that patients in London, and those with prostate cancer in general, are receiving a raw deal.
The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:
'Most of the findings are encouraging but the government cannot be complacent. Prostate cancer has now overtaken lung cancer as the most common cause of cancer in men and services for these patients should be a priority, especially in London where there is a higher rate of the disease.
'Although some progress has been made as a result of the NHS Prostate Cancer Programme, more work needs to be done to support prostate patients who suffer from inequalities in cancer services. This is especially the case in high risk groups, such as African and African Caribbean men, whose awareness of the disease is still very low.
'More must also be done to improve patient care, and services in London must be brought up to the standards provided throughout the rest of the UK. Waiting time targets in London must be met to ensure that patients are seen by a specialist as soon as possible. We also need a wider campaign to educate people about cancer symptoms and provide the public with more information and guidance throughout their treatment.'
Notes to editors:
1. For further information or interviews, please contact The King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
2. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.