A new report by a leading charity has said that at least 160,000 cancer patients are either constantly or often left housebound due to a lack of social care, while over 100,000 people with the condition are either constantly or often unable to wash themselves, dress or go to the toilet.
The report by Macmillan Cancer Support provides for the first time a full picture of the widespread social care needs of people with cancer and according to the charity over two thirds (64 per cent) needing either practical or personal care.
Lynda Thomas, Interim Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support says that though there is a growing recognition that social care and support are vital for people with long term health conditions, cancer patients are thought to be a group whose needs are already met by the NHS because their needs are thought to be purely medical in nature.
“Today’s findings debunk this unfair myth. They show that people with cancer have needs which are far more widespread than we had even realised and that sadly the health and social care systems are too often failing to provide people with basic support”, Thomas adds.
The report is based on a UK-wide survey of 1,037 people living with cancer and their carers. Some of the findings of the survey are:
Almost two in three people with cancer (64 per cent) have practical or personal support needs.
- Almost one in three people with cancer (31 per cent) have practical or personal needs but do not get enough support or get no support at all.
- One in four people with cancer (26 per cent) experience a negative impact on their lives as a result of a lack of support for their practical or personal care needs, equating to an estimated 380,000 people in the UK.
The report [full report can be found here] also says that one in seven cancer patients have had to go to hospital for an unplanned or emergency visit because of a lack of support for their practical or personal needs.
The charity is calling on health and social care providers to work collaboratively with NHS, local authorities and Macmillan Cancer support so as to design and deliver solutions that can meet the huge scale of demand of social care and support.
“Macmillan is urgently calling on the NHS and local authorities to recognise that people with cancer do have social care needs and they desperately need more support. Macmillan is keen to work with these organisations to help people reclaim their lives – and dignity – from cancer”, adds Thomas.