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Variation in NHS treatment puts lives at risk
A new study has laid bare the dramatic gulf in the quality of NHS treatment in different parts of the UK.
The so-called Atlas of Variation reveals a “postcode lottery” which patients’ groups fear is putting lives at risk.
The report, which was published by NHS England and Public Health England, assessed performance in 200 areas across the country.
Cancer diagnosis, stroke treatment and diabetes monitoring are just some of the services which can vary greatly.
Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s medical director, said that the health service needed to address the disparities as a matter of urgency.
“The atlas exposes some inconvenient truths about the extent of variation in care for some common conditions,” he said.
Nick Ormiston-Smith, from Cancer Research UK, was one of several charity representatives who expressed their alarm at the situation.
“Cancer survival is improving, but these statistics show that cancer services are not meeting the needs of all patients,” he said.
“We know that catching cancer early saves lives. Diagnosing the disease at an early stage means patients have the best chance of their treatment being successful. Improving early diagnosis and ensuring patients get the best possible treatments must be a priority for the NHS.”
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