Cancer scandal

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It is only right that RS Stewart (Letters, 2 April) asks for an answer from the Scottish Government regarding failings in the NHS.

It seems the government agrees that there is a problem and the answer is that a committee of some sort is looking into the matter and is committed to delivering a modern service but there are staffing issues.

As a result, five more medical training posts are to be funded to deliver more consultants. Training in radiation oncology takes five years so we might have to wait that long to feel the benefits.

I do not accept such platitudes as sufficient response to what amounts to a scandal in cancer care delivery and it is simplistic to assume the matter will be resolved only with some more consultants in five years’ time.

There are many countries such as Australia where modern standard radiotherapy techniques have been delivered even in small centres over the past ten years, despite the fact that they have the same problems we have in recruiting and maintaining staff in both medicine and physics.

The response I have received so far from a government that has had overall control of health in this country for nearly eight years has been naive. RS Stewart asks if this is only of concern to cancer suffers. Clearly it is not.

Were we talking about haphazard access to anti-cancer drugs there would be an outcry.

This must be of concern to the news media, to all cancer patient support groups, to the cancer charities (although I must say that Cancer Research UK has taken a major and proactive interest in the problem), to all citizens and to any government that honestly wants to deliver 21st-century cancer care to the people paying it.

(Dr) Alan Rodger

Clairmont Gardens

Glasgow

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