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Cancer services are “no longer safe” as there are too few medics to cope with a backlog of patients waiting for scans and X-rays since the pandemic, medics have warned. 

The Royal College of Radiologists said a third more consultants – almost 2,000 doctors – were needed to cope with demand, even before the crisis hit. 

Its census of more than 1,000 specialists found that nearly half are now planning to cut their hours, and a fifth are considering leaving the NHS. 

The number of patients facing long waits for tests such as MRI scans, ultrasounds and gastroscopies has risen 10-fold in the past year, with 327,663 patients waiting at least six weeks, up from 29,832 a year ago. 

One medic told the census: “We cannot deliver adequate services for our patients” while another said “we can no longer provide cancer and acute care safely.”

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