8 March 2018
Commenting on cancer waiting times for January 2018, published today by NHS England, Moira Fraser, Director of Policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
“If you have just been diagnosed with cancer, the very last thing you need is a long wait for treatment. Not only can this be incredibly distressing, there is also a chance your health could deteriorate in the meantime. It is very disappointing that today’s figures show that once again, cancer waiting time targets for starting treatment after an urgent referral have not been met.
“Despite the very best efforts of hardworking doctors and nurses, too many cancer patients are facing these avoidable delays. If the NHS is to deliver world class cancer care, people with cancer must be supported from the moment they are referred, through treatment, and after recovery.
“2017 saw the government fail to meet its cancer waiting time commitments month on month, and we hope that today’s results are not a sign of the year ahead.
“We are pleased to learn about MP John Baron’s positive meeting with Theresa May about this issue yesterday. Following on from this, we hope patients are not left in limbo at any point during their cancer journey.”
- The 62-day target was breached again in January 2018 – only 81% of patients in England started treatment within two months of being urgently referred by their GP with suspected cancer, against the target of 85%
- The 62-day target has now been breached for 25 months in a row
- Over half of NHS hospital trusts in England (54%) missed the 62-day target in January 2018, with 27 trusts – more than one in six– missing it by 10 percentage points or more.*
- In the past 12 months**, more than 26,000 people waited more than two months for treatment to start after an urgent GP referral, including over 10,000 people who waited for more than three months
- This is the 5th January in a row that the target has been breached
- Since the target was first breached in January 2014, over 98,000 people have waited more than two months for treatment to start
*This refers to all provider trusts at which 5 or more patients started cancer treatment in January 2018, which amounts to 147 trusts in total. 79 trusts treated less than 85% of patients within two months of being urgently referred.
**Refers to Feb 2017 – Jan 2018 inclusive