Cancer referrals fall by 50% during COVID-19 lockdown - ‘Herculean’ number of cancer cases looming’

The number of people being referred to consultants with suspected cancer has fallen by about 50% during lockdown, it has emerged.

By Gemma Murray
Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 8:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 9:07 am

A report by the BBC reveals that figures show that during April and May there were 7,500 fewer “red flag” referrals than in the same months in 2019.

Meanwhile, they also report that the number of hospital referrals by GPs for all conditions fell by 48,278.

Health Minister Robin Swann has acknowledged the damage done to normal services by the need to fight coronavirus.


“I don’t think there’s any reason to think that the incidence of cancer has dropped over the last few months, so I think there’s a big backlog.

“I think a lot of doctors are beginning to feel extremely proud of everything that’s been done to cope with the crisis.

“I think we now need to deal with those undiagnosed or untreated cancers.”

This morning he is due to launch a blueprint for what he is describing as the rebuilding of the health service.

BBC Spotlight will tonight highlight the issue at 22:45 BST.


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