Cancer patients having to wait longer than ever for NHS treatment

8 December 2019, 14:06

Cancer waiting times are longer than ever, a new report has found
Cancer waiting times are longer than ever, a new report has found. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Waiting times for cancer treatment on the NHS are the longest they have been since records began, a new report has found.

Analysis published in the Sunday Times found that between April and September this year the waiting time performance across all the national targets has dropped to its lowest rate since the standards were first introduced a decade ago.

In total across the different standards the targets were missed a total of 168,390 times between April and September this year, it added.

The analysis was carried out by the Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation, the paper said.

But the NHS said that the number of people referred has increased by 11.7 per cent - 253,450 more people - over the last 12 months compared to the same period the previous year.

A spokeswoman for the health service said that the number of people treated for cancer within 62 days in 2018-19 was 31 per cent higher than in 2011-12.

She added: "Actually far more people are getting a fast check-up than ever before - with a record 2.2 million checks carried out last year.

"So your chance of getting a quick diagnosis and treatment is amongst the highest it has ever been which is one reason why cancer survival in England is at an all-time high.

"The biggest drop in performance came in the two week GP referral for breast cancer which fell from 97.5 per cent in 2011-12 to 81.1 per cent in the first half of 2019-20 - a fall of 14.6 percentage points."

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