Download New census highlights mounting crisis in clinical oncology workforce

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New census highlights mounting crisis in clinical oncology workforce
The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) today releases the results of its latest oncology
workforce census. The report Clinical Oncology UK Workforce Census 2015 highlights an
oncology workforce under strain and reveals an urgent need to address longstanding issues
in workforce planning.
Some key findings of the 2015 census:
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28% of unfilled Consultant posts have been vacant for 12 months or longer. Many
cancer centres are experiencing difficulties in recruiting new members of staff
Nearly 1 in 5 of the oncology workforce could retire in the next five years. In some
UK regions the figure is as high as 26%
67 additional full-time Consultants are required to cover the excess workload
undertaken by the current workforce.
two thirds of the current trainees are female. Women are more likely than men to
adopt less than full-time working patterns, meaning that while the size of the
workforce may increase, the number of whole-time equivalent (WTE) oncologists
may remain the same or even fall placing additional strain on already overstretched
services.
Commenting on the census findings, Dr David Bloomfield, Medical Director Professional
Practice, RCR said:
"One in two people will be affected by cancer in their lifetimes. While cancer treatments
are improving all the time, the complexity of planning and delivery of treatment is
increasing too, which means more time is needed to plan each patient’s treatment.
Patients are benefitting from a succession of effective treatments for advanced disease,
often over many years. The clinical workforce is growing, but not quickly enough and the
trends identified by our census reveal an oncology service moving steadily towards
crisis. High-quality cancer care can only be achieved with sufficient numbers of
oncologists and we are calling on Government and NHS bodies across the four nations
to undertake rational, joint planning of the oncology workforce so that patient care does
not suffer further"
Dr Bloomfield continued:
“What patients with cancer deserve is immediate and sustained investment in the front
line oncology workforce allied to proper workforce planning. With an ageing population
and rising incidence of cancer, it’s vital that the NHS has enough clinical oncologists to
meet demand and to maximise the potential of new cancer treatment technologies to
improve patient outcomes.”