New research has shown that the NHS relies heavily on charitable donations to help fund its treatment and support of children and teenagers with cancer.
Health economists, writing in the Journal of Child Health Care, say that up to 50% of the funding in the NHS's specialist cancer centres in England and Wales comes from charities.
And these figures could even be an underestimate, study author Dr Dyfrig Hughes said, as they did not include numerous hospitals and local charities which also provide funding.
"It is a significant contribution towards work which arguably should be paid for by the NHS," Dr Hughes was reported by the BBC as saying.
The study estimates that the financial contribution to services by charities five years ago was between £25m and £38m, representing between a third and a half of the total resources directed to the treatment and support of children and young people with cancer in specialist centres across England and Wales.
The report's authors concluded that reliance on the substantial charitable funding of healthcare in England and Wales raises concerns over government responsibility, and the potential misalignment between NHS priorities and those of the charities.