Cancer: Karol Sikora outlines 'most persistent symptoms'
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Doctors’ unions have struck a deal with the Government allowing GPs to cancel annual health checks for the over-75s, along with the monitoring of millions with known health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease, so they can focus on giving booster vaccines instead. GPs will not only get paid for appointments they haven’t carried out, but will be paid £15 per dose administered – or £20 for every jab given on a Sunday.
This means that doctors who turn their patients away from check-ups will leave work having received more pay.
Professor Karol Sikora, a leading cancer specialist, described the deal as “ridiculous”.
Older patients suffering from conditions such as diabetes could be left to worry about their unmonitored health problems at home if doctors choose the more profitable option of giving vaccine doses, including to younger, non-vulnerable people who face a minimal chance of being harmed by Covid.
The plan will also result in fresh problems for those who have cancer but have not yet been diagnosed.
Professor Sikora told Express.co.uk that ministers “have got their priorities wrong” by focusing their full attention on the Omicron Covid variant, about which we currently know little, while hampering the early detection in routine checks of diseases like cancer, the early detection of which we know to be key for high chances of survival.
Toby Young, Editor of the Daily Sceptic, also told Express.co.uk that the Government was guilty of being “typically short-sighted”.
He said: “Why prioritise the prevention of a disease that 99.77 percent of people recover from and neglect the prevention of more serious diseases?”
The deal allowing doctors to cancel appoints came after Boris Johnson urged more people to come forward for their booster Covid vaccine.
After just two cases of the Omicron variant were reported in Britain, the Prime Minister called an emergency press conference and said that it is more important than ever that people get “boosted”.
READ MORE: GPs told to give LESS care to boost Covid jabs
But Professor Sikora insisted that tasking doctors with ramping up the booster roll-out was, at best, unnecessary.
At worse, it was dangerous, given the time they are forced – or, rather, they chose – to spend away from their patients.
He said: “Technicians can [administer Covid vaccinations]. Young trained people can be shown how to give an injection in an hour.”
“There is no need for the GPs to do anything [beyond their usual work].”
He added that the NHS waiting list is already long enough without the need for extra work to be heaped on top.
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A report by the National Audit Office showed this week that 5.9million people are now on an NHS waiting list.
As things stand, the body estimates that the figure could hit 12million by 2025.
Another report last week showed that around 50,000 people in the UK have missed a cancer diagnosis since the first lockdown in March 2020.
Steven McIntosh, Executive Director of Advocacy and Communications at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Nearly two years into the pandemic, there is still a mountain of almost 50,000 people who are missing a cancer diagnosis.
“Thousands more are already facing delays and disruption as they go through treatment.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid admitted in November that waiting lists have increased because people were told to stay home.
He said: “This number is going to go up before it comes down. Why? Because some seven to eight million people stayed away during the height of the Covid crisis because they were asked to.
“They did what was asked of them.”
The new deal for doctors means that, while patients are not being told they must stay at home, many will have no choice but to do so.
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