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UK lags behind in lung cancer care

30th April 2009

A new audit has revealed that the UK is lagging behind other Western European countries in relation to lung cancer treatment.

lungsxray

Published by the NHS Information Centre and the Royal College of Physicians the audit – the third of its kind – found there were wide variations between the best and the worst performing trusts in the UK.

The study of 26,000 patients found only 51% of all lung cancer patients received any form of active anti-cancer treatment, compared to 75% in Italy.

One in 10 received surgery to cut away tumour tissue, compared with 20% in the Netherlands and 17.5% in Sweden.

While there was an overall improvement in the quality of care given by hospitals some still fail to offer acceptable standards of practice in key aspects of care such as diagnosis and treatment.

The audit showed that the best performers compare with the best in the world, but the general standard fell below that of other Western European countries.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, said: "While there have been overall improvements in care since the previous audit in 2006, there's still a wide variation between hospitals which cannot be explained on the basis of differing patient profiles alone.

"Trusts need to look carefully at the areas where their performance varies with national averages and expected levels of attainment and address the underlying causes."

The UK Lung Cancer Coalition said it was disappointed to see the huge variation in lung cancer treatment and care across the country.

 

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