Star comment: Cancer care can't be left until later
The latest analysis by Cancer UK makes for hugely concerning reading.
The charity says that if current trends continue, cancer cases will rise from the 384,000 cases per year now to 506,000 in 2040.
This rise of a third would see new annual cases pass the half a million mark for the first time – and the consequences do not bear thinking about.
Unless the Government takes immediate action, Cancer UK has warned, the NHS risks being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new cancer diagnoses.
Ministers already have plenty on their plates when it comes to the NHS, and some would say it has already reached the stage of being “overwhelmed”.
Sorting out waiting times, staff shortages and social care have all rightly been prioritised by the Government.
But under no circumstances should cancer care be left to sort out later.
According to experts, the NHS is currently treading water when it comes to cancer. It is barely managing to cope with the number of cases it deals with now, so we can only imagine what a huge spike in diagnoses will do.
Lifestyle factors such as poor diet and lack of exercise will certainly impact the figures, as will our ageing population.
But this is a challenge that our policy makers must meet head on. And the planning needs to start now.
Certainly, more staff will be required – and bear in mind it takes 15 years to train an oncologist or a radiologist.
There is hope that with additional investment coupled with advancements in research, future numbers of cancer cases might not be as high as the projections warn.
A drive towards healthier lifestyles could also help to reduce the burden on our health service.
But as senior doctors have warned, a failure to act will risk the progress we have made on cancer survival going into reverse.
The NHS simply must be prepared.
Bridgnorth Cliff Railway is without doubt a jewel in the region’s crown.
Each year thousands of visitors flock to the market town to enjoy it in all its glory, which makes its current predicament extremely worrying.
The railway is currently closed due to a cracked wall – owned by Bridgnorth Town Council – that even the untrained eye can see needs urgent attention.
There are two ways this could go.
On one hand the situation could drag on while arguments rage over when repairs will take place and who will pay for them.
Or council chiefs can move swiftly and transparently to explain the extent of the problem and the cost, before getting the job done.
We sincerely hope it is the latter process that takes place, paving the way for serious discussions on how this iconic landmark is looked after in the years ahead.