Cancer chief quits amid radiotherapy shortfall

The head of a government committee on cancer treatment has resigned amid concerns that up to 40,000 patients a year are being denied crucial radiotherapy. Dr Peter Kirkbride, medical director of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool, has stepped down as chairman of the government’s radiotherapy clinical reference group just weeks after warning in The Sunday Times that NHS managers were “failing patients” by running a “Cinderella” service. Professor Patricia Price of Imperial College London and chairwoman of the charity Action Radiotherapy, said: “Some patients are missing out on the opportunity for their cancer to be cured. Some are simply not able to be treated . . . We [Britain] are towards the bottom of Europe. We are at least 10 years behind the [rest of ] the western world in terms of access to advanced treatments and we are slipping back again.”

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