Waiting time targets for cancer patients to start treatment in England have been missed again according to the latest monthly figures released today (Thursday).
NHS England aims for 85 per cent of cancer patients to start treatment after being diagnosed.
Today’s figures show this is 81 per cent – matching the previous month of January which was one of the worst recorded performances since records began in 2009.
The figures also show that 57 per cent of trusts failed (86 out of 150) to meet the 85 per cent target.
Emma Greenwood, Cancer Research UK’s head of policy, said: “These latest cancer waiting time figures are a stark reminder that many thousands of cancer patients have to wait longer than two months to start treatment. But this has not always been the case. Cancer Research UK’s new analysis shows that before 2014 waiting time targets were generally being hit and patients were swiftly diagnosed and treated. Now, it’s been over two years since the NHS first began missing this target, and that’s unacceptable. The health service urgently needs more resources to ensure patients get the tests they need as soon as possible. This must be a priority for the Government and the NHS.
“These targets exist to ensure quick diagnosis and access to cancer treatment, which is vital if we’re to give patients the best chance of a cure and are serious about having survival rates to match the best in the world. The annual figures are released next month and we will be examining them closely to see what the yearly pattern looks like.”
For media enquiries contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 8300 or, out of hours, on 07050 264 059.