Hospice fears increase in demand after cancer crisis warning

INCREASED DEMAND ... St Clare's Hospice chief executive David Hall.
INCREASED DEMAND ... St Clare's Hospice chief executive David Hall.

CHARITY bosses in South Tyneside are facing an increase in demand for their services.

The warning follows new statistics which show one-in-two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives.

The latest forecast from Cancer Research UK says that the UK faces a “crisis” if the NHS does not plan ahead.

Bosses at St Clare’s Hospice, in Jarrow, says that the changes will lead to an increased demand on its services.

Chief executive, David Hall, said: “St Clare’s Hospice provides specialist palliative care services to the people of South Tyneside with a range of life-limiting conditions, including cancer, which is by far the largest patient group.

“The new figures released by Cancer Research UK outlining the increase in the number of people affected by cancer, are strongly linked to our ageing population.

“People in the UK are living longer and here in South Tyneside is no different.

“We anticipate that this will over time lead to increased demand for the use of our services.

“This is why we are in discussion with local NHS commissioning organisations (Clinical Commissioning Groups) to try and increase the resources available to us, in order to improve access to specialist palliative care services.

“Whilst we try to support those who would prefer to die in their own home, we know that for some, hospice care is the best option to manage their pain and other symptoms, to make them as comfortable as possible towards the end of their lives.

“The anticipated future pressure on our services will also mean that St Clare’s Hospice will need to increase the money it raises through voluntary fundraising from the people of South Tyneside, if it is to continue to provide the same high-quality service to a greater number of people.”

The new figure, which replaces the previous of one in three, is the most accurate forecast to date from Cancer Research UK, and is published in the British Journal of Cancer.

The charity said it highlights the urgent need to bolster public health and NHS cancer services, so they can cope with a growing and ageing population and the looming demands for better diagnostics, treatments and earlier diagnosis.

Prevention must also play a role in the effort required to reduce the impact of the disease in coming decades, the charity said.

The UK’s cancer survival has doubled over the last 40 years and about half of patients now survive the disease for more than 10 years.

However, as more people benefit from improved healthcare and longer-life expectancy, the number of cancer cases is expected to rise.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki