11 January 2018
Commenting on cancer waiting times for November 2017, published today by NHS England, Moira Fraser, Director of Policy at Macmillan Cancer Support said:
“We are told that cancer services are a top-level priority for the NHS in England, but, once again, today’s cancer waiting times stats reflect the bleak reality that many patients have to face.
“These latest figures show that last year thousands of cancer patients still had to wait more than two months to start treatment. This is on top of the anxiety caused by being urgently referred by their GP for suspected cancer.
“Not only is this a deeply distressing time for patients and their families, there is the risk that their health will deteriorate while they wait weeks on end for vital treatment.
“We know how hard doctors and nurses are working, so it’s incredibly disheartening that the system cannot manage to meet targets that were once easily met. 2018 has to be a year where we see urgent progress, in terms of speedy diagnosis to first treatment, but also crucially, for those living with cancer who need ongoing care and support”
- The 62-day target was breached again in November 2017 – only 82.5% of patients in England started treatment within two months of being urgently referred by their GP, against the target of 85%
- Half of NHS hospital trusts in England (51%) missed the 62-day target in November, with 22 trusts – around one in seven – missing it by 10 percentage points or more.*
- At trusts which missed the target by 10 percentage points or more, at least one in four patients waited for more than two months for treatment to start.
- From January to November 2017, over 24,000 people waited more than two months for treatment to start after an urgent GP referral, including around 10,000 people who waited for more than three months
- Since the target was first breached in January 2014, over 94,000 people have waited more than two months for treatment to start
*Refers to all trusts at which 5 or more patients started cancer treatment in November 2017 – 151 trusts in total. 77 trusts treated less than 85% of patients within two months of being urgently referred.
For further information, please contact:
Patrick Pringle, Senior Media & PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
0207 840 4891 (out of hours 07801 307068)