NEARLY 80 people with suspected skin cancer are on a waiting list of over the two weeks to see a specialist at York Hospital.

There are 77 people on a list taking longer than the recommended two-week waiting time at the hospital, which has seen a 40 per cent increase in referrals following a skin cancer awareness campaign.

One woman who had previously suffered skin cancer was told she would have to wait weeks to see a specialist about another suspected case until her GP challenged the delay, a relative told The Press.

A spokesperson for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “The combination of a very successful awareness campaign for skin cancer earlier this year and the fact that people are more likely to notice any changes on exposed skin in summer has meant that more people are visiting their GP to have their concerns checked out.

“As a result the Trust has experienced a significant increase in referrals over the last three months which has resulted in a waiting list. We have just appointed a new consultant and speciality doctors and are continuing to recruit staff for the dermatology department.”

A York Hospital spokeswoman said it is now receiving 15 referrals a day.

She said there has been a 40 per cent rise in York and nationally for referrals for this service and nationally there are 230 dermatology vacancies.

Nina Goad, head of communications at the British Association of Dermatologists, agreed the problem had been identified nationally.

She said: "Skin cancer cases have been on the rise since the 1970s, with incidence rates increasing faster than any of the other 10 most common cancers.

"The increased demand for dermatology is not being matched by the number of trainees entering the specialty, with around 180 unfilled Consultant Dermatologist positions, out of a total of 830 positions.

That means one in five funded consultant posts are empty. And there is a north / south divide, with the situation worse in the north."

Nicki Embleton, a spokeswoman for Cancer Research UK, said; "Incidents of skin cancer are increasing and Cancer Research UK encourage people to visit their doctor if they notice any changes or concerns. If people want more information about the signs and symptoms of skin cancer but also advice on how to enjoy the sun safely, visit uk".