Urgent GP cancer referrals drop by 60%

Many patients with cancer symptoms are not consulting their GP because of fears over COVID-19

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The number of GP urgent referrals for cancer has dropped by 60% as patients as patients stay away from the NHS because of concerns over COVID-19, figures from NHS England show.

The latest figures for GP urgent referrals show that there were 79,573 referrals in April 2020, compared with 199,217 in April 2019.

There has been a particularly large dip in urgent referrals for breast cancer with 16,753 in April 2020 compared with 3,759 for the same period the year before.

Dr Layla McCay, a director at the NHS Confederation, said: "It is very concerning to see the worries of health leaders confirmed by the data: GP referrals for suspected cancer have fallen dramatically.”



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