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Cancer tsar condemns Observer over attack on GPs

Professor Mike Richards, national director of cancer services, has written to The Observer newspaper condemning its front page story earlier this month on GPs' diagnosis of cancer.

The Observer story 'GPs warned over failure to diagnose cancers', which was widely reported by other media outlets, claimed patients were dying of cancer because GPs were failing to identify their symptoms.

Based on an interview with Professor Richards, it quoted him as saying botched diagnoses were now 'a significant concern'.

But in a letter printed this week, Professor Richards said he never issued a warning nor talked about 'botched' diagnosis by GPs.

'Instead, I emphasised how difficult it is for GPs to distinguish between the eight or so new cases of cancer they see each year and the hundreds of patients with symptoms that overlap those of cancer,' he wrote.

'I also stressed that GPs get it right in the vast majority of cases.'

Professor Mike Richards

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