Although the incidence of cancer continues to rise, partly as a result of the ageing population, the number of consultant oncologists in the UK has remained static since 1980 -- in 1993 it was 1 specialist for every 224,000 of the population. Only Portugal comes lower in the European league, with one oncologist for 250,000. Norway has one for 69,000 and France one for 110,000. Cancer consultants in the UK each looks after around 2,000 patients, half of whom require active care, see two to three times as many patients as their colleagues overseas and are not able to devote enough time to individual patients or keep themselves informed of latest developments. Each oncologist sees an average of 560 new patients every year, in addition to existing patients; by 2000 it is expected that new referrals will average 670 a year. The recommended maximum workload is 350 new patients a year.