Letter: The 'unacceptable failure' of cancer waiting times
The latest figures from NHS England show more than half of all trusts in England have failed to meet the 85% target for patients receiving their first treatment within 62 days following an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer.
This data represents two and a half years of unacceptable failure. Cancer waiting times exist to promote swift diagnosis and prompt treatment for patients.
Making sure that patients are diagnosed quickly also helps to reduce the anxiety that suspected cancer can cause.
We believe this ongoing breached target is due to challenges in the pathway between being seen by a specialist and being diagnosed.
This all points to a problem with diagnostic capacity and staffing levels of a range of health professionals.
England’s cancer strategy prioritises improved waiting times and ensuring earlier diagnosis of cancer.
We want to see faster progress in implementing the strategy to address poor waiting times and ensure the NHS can diagnose all patients swiftly.
Emma Greenwood, head of policy, Cancer Research UK