close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
P
Pa
June 14, 2019

NHS cancer patients face ‘distressing’ waits

Top Story

P
Pa
June 14, 2019

LONDON: The proportion of patients with suspected cancer who are seen within two weeks of urgent referral is at the lowest level since records began.

In April, just 89.9 per cent were seen within a fortnight of an urgent GP referral, the lowest figure since records began in October 2009 and beneath the 93 per cent target.The proportion of cancer patients receiving their first treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral is also below the 85 per cent target, standing at 77 per cent for the period January to March.

In addition, data from NHS England shows the highest ever number of people waiting for their NHS treatment to start, and a rise in the proportion of patients waiting for key tests such as MRI scans.

Some 3.6 per cent of people in April waited longer than six weeks for a diagnostic test such as a colonoscopy or an MRI - the highest level in a decade and triple the recommended proportion.

The data comes after MPs published a damning report earlier this week warning that patients are being put at risk due to long NHS waits. Other data shows ambulance trusts struggling to hit targets and the four-hour A&E standard being repeatedly missed.

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at the King’s Fund think tank, said: “There are 4.4 million people waiting for consultant-led care and the proportion of patients who began their treatments or got diagnostic tests done within NHS time limits were both at their worst level for more than a decade. “Cancer patients are also facing longer waits, with the proportion of people who are seen within two weeks following an urgent referral at the lowest level since records began. Despite the best efforts of NHS staff, it is hard to see how the NHS can get back to delivering its performance standards while it remains in the grip of a workforce crisis.”

BMA consultants committee chairman Dr Rob Harwood said: “Despite the BMA warning over a month ago of the crisis in cancer care, it is extremely concerning that we are continuing to see a rising trend in the number of patients forced to wait over two weeks to see a cancer specialist after their GP referral, further adding to their distress.”

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “These figures are a reminder that years of Tory underfunding and understaffing has left patients increasingly anxious and worried for test results, and will be forced to wait longer for vital treatment.”

NHS data shows that, while waiting times are slipping, the NHS is treating more patients.NHS Improvement said A&E departments treated or discharged 5.3 million patients within four hours of arrival between January and March, some 314,594 more than last year.

Meanwhile, the number of people requiring planned surgery increased by almost 400,000 patients, it said. NHS providers also managed to reduce their deficits by £395 million in 2018/19 compared with the previous year, to £571 million, NHS Improvement said.

Topstory minus plus

Opinion minus plus

Newspost minus plus

Editorial minus plus

National minus plus

World minus plus

Sports minus plus

Business minus plus

Karachi minus plus

Lahore minus plus

Islamabad minus plus

Peshawar minus plus