Improved cancer care more costly in rural areas

RESEARCH revealed by the Commission for Rural Communities shows that the lives of Torridge residents could be improved by reforming rural cancer care services, says Torridge District Council s lead member for health Cllr Adam Symons.The research reported

RESEARCH revealed by the Commission for Rural Communities shows that the lives of Torridge residents could be improved by reforming rural cancer care services, says Torridge District Council's lead member for health Cllr Adam Symons.

The research reported insights from patients, their families and service provides which show that living in the rural districts can affect the quality of cancer care.

Particular challenges are faced by residents with difficult or costly journeys to hospital and also with running awareness campaigns and screening services in rural areas.

Cllr Symons, said: "The provision of care for discharged cancer patients who live a long distance from health services is a real concern. We know that services are getting better. However, often this involves amalgamating specialist services. This leads to greater costs for patients and their families, as this report shows.

"Problems are acute in rural areas with poor public transport, such as Torridge. This is exacerbated by problems finding volunteer drivers to take patients to cancer services. During the report's research, rural patients spoke of painful and discomforting regular and lengthy journeys to remote treatment centres. Those without access to public transport often faced considerably increased travelling costs.

"More people are surviving cancer and the NHS needs to focus more attention on meeting their long term needs. People who had finished treatment for cancer were often overlooked by health and social care services. Those living in sparsely populated rural areas can suffer the greatest isolation and more needs to be done to help them.

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