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Cancer surgery will 'take hit' this winter and survival rates will go in reverse as result of Covid

Cancer surgery will ‘take a hit’ again this winter and the pandemic has sent survival rates into reverse, experts warned yesterday.

During the pandemic thousands of cancer patients had vital treatment cancelled or postponed as staff and hospital beds were diverted towards Covid-19.

Yesterday the health select committee heard how oncologists were made to ‘clear bedpans’ on Covid wards or redeployed as ‘mortuary assistants’ instead of treating cancer patients.

Experts warned the health select committee yesterday that cancer surgery will ‘take a hit’ again this winter and the pandemic has sent survival rates into reverse (stock image)

Experts said the situation could repeat itself this winter, and improvements in cancer survival will go into reverse over the next decade as a result of the pandemic.

Professor Mike Griffin, from the Royal College of Surgeons, told MPs: ‘I’m worried that cancer surgery will once again take a hit in the coming weeks over winter.

‘We have to ring-fence cancer care – that’s my view and the view of most surgeons now. 

'We can’t have what happened in the first wave ever happen again – where cancer surgery and treatment was paused.’

Professor Pat Price, from Action Radiotherapy, told MPs that radiotherapy was ‘on its knees’ in certain places, adding: ‘By thinking it’s okay, people are going to die.’

Professor Mike Griffin, (pictured) from the Royal College of Surgeons, told MPs: 'We can’t have what happened in the first wave ever happen again – where cancer surgery and treatment was paused'