Half of UK patients with leukaemia do not have access to clinical nurse specialist
Leukaemia Care survey finds that only 49% of respondents have access to a clinical nurse specialist after diagnosis – and the figure rises to almost two thirds among those over 65
These were the findings of the charity's survey of 1,305 people in the UK with leukaemia, which also revealed that GPs were twice as likely to refer over 65s as non-urgent cases – because cancer was not suspected.
Almost half of respondents (49%) said they had access to a clinical nurse specialist, but the figure was just 37% among over 65s.
Leukaemia Care believes that some of these patients are given the name of a nurse to help them, but are unable to get the support they need, perhaps because of restrictions on the availability of nurse time.
Building a relationship
Leukaemia Care nurse adviser Shirley Aston said: ‘The government recommends that when cancer patients are diagnosed they are linked with a nurse.
'We build up a relationship with the patient and the family as their first port of call and we can give advice on treating side effects. We can also get them attention early on if we think their symptoms are urgent.’
The survey also shows that older patients are less likely to have the option of joining a clinical trial – 46% compared to 60% among under 65s – and that no respondents over 85 were given guidance on using the internet to find out more information on their condition.