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Specialist nurses save on cancer costs

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Coordination of cancer care by clinical nurse specialists or allied health professionals could help reduce cancer care costs by 10 per cent, research by the NHS Confederation and Macmillan Cancer Support has found.

Every year, £5bn is spent on cancer services and, in the past eight years, emergency admissions for cancer related symptoms have increased by 50 per cent.

A joint report by the NHS managers’ body and the cancer support charity has found patients who have been assessed by a clinical nurse specialist or allied health professional and given a comprehensive care plan tend to feel less anxious if they experience symptoms related to cancer or its treatment because they are well informed.

This can cut emergency admissions as these patients can care for themselves and, when they do need NHS help, they know how to access the services they need.

The report says that as much as 10 per cent could be saved from the cost of cancer services.

The savings would come from improved coordination of care. That would enable supported self-management, more appropriate secondary care follow up, fewer emergency admissions, reduced hospital stays, and support for patients wanting to return to work as well as those wanting to die at home.

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