NHS crisis sees 1MILLION extra patients turn to A&E departments in last year - ... trends now
A cancer patient given months to live has spoken of her anger and upset after her chemotherapy was delayed for a fortnight because of doctors’ strikes.
Meanwhile, the NHS in Devon is preparing to take extra measures to keep patients safe after the industrial action piled extra pressure on its A&Es.
Flora White, 51, was due to see her cancer specialist at Kettering General Hospital, Northants, on Wednesday ahead of her fourth round of therapy.
But her treatment could not go ahead as her consultation with her oncologist was cancelled due to the joint strike action by consultants and junior medics.
She will now have to wait until October 2 for her appointment, adding extra ‘worry and stress’.
One million more patients attended A&E in the past year amid strikes, record waits for routine care and difficulties accessing a GP, figures show
Strikes by NHS medics have been partly blamed for fueling the surge in A&E attendances. Pictured medics on the picket line outside University College hospital in London on September 20
The unprecedented coordinated walkout meant hospitals were delivering only a Christmas Day level of service on Wednesday, with most non-emergency care cancelled.
Junior doctors are also on strike today and tomorrow, with their action for these two days increased to a full walkout, including A&E.
It comes as new figures out yesterday showed 1 million more patients attended A&E in the past year amid strikes, record waits for routine care and difficulties accessing a GP.
Health leaders say people have turned to emergency departments because it is one part of the NHS where they know the ‘lights are on’ and they will be seen.
Ms White, from Northamptonshire, was told her appointment to discuss her blood samples with her oncologist ahead of her treatment was cancelled ‘because of the industrial action’.
The mother-of-two said she was told in March the cancer in her bowel area was ‘very aggressive and she only had ‘months to live’ following the spread of the disease to her pelvis and uterus.
She started chemotherapy in August and is undergoing six rounds every fortnight to shrink the size of the tumour before it can be surgically removed.
Ms White said she feels cancer patients and patients suffering with serious conditions ‘shouldn’t be affected’ by industrial action, adding: ‘It’s our health at the end of the day.
‘It’s hard to deal with as it is, let alone the extra worry and stress.
‘Your treatment being cancelled and delayed, they don’t understand how they’re affecting some people.’
Becoming emotional, Ms White said: ‘I’m angry and upset.
‘Because of what I’ve been through, it’s already scary and they won’t operate until chemo shrinks the tumour.’
Ms White said she was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2021 and was given the all-clear after the tumour was removed along with her large intestine.
In March this year, Ms White was diagnosed with cancer for the second time after a tumour formed on the join between the start of where her large intestine used to be and her small intestine.
Ms White said: ‘I had my bloods done for nothing this Monday and I’m having to repeat them next Monday for a catch up with the oncologist next Wednesday.
'Because they’ve cancelled so many people, they can’t rearrange my chemo for next Thursday.
‘I’ve now got to wait till the following Monday (October 2).
‘So that’s eight working days, which is just a bit annoying.’
She said: ‘I speak to my friends and they thought, “we support the strikes but we didn’t think it was affecting cancer