- At Liverpool Women’s NHS Trust only 23% of patients were treated within 62 days
- At Royal Papworth, 38% were seen within this time period, analysis shows
Only one in four cancer patients is seen within the 62-day target in some areas, new research shows.
The “heartbreaking” gap between the best areas for treatment and the worst has been highlighted by the Liberal Democrats’ analysis of House of Commons Library data.
The party is calling for an end to the “cancer care postcode lottery” with a legal guarantee for cancer patients to receive treatment within 62 days.
Currently, this is the maximum amount of time patients are supposed to wait from an urgent referral for suspected cancer or a consultant update to their first definitive treatment.
But at Liverpool Women’s NHS Trust only 23 per cent of patients were treated within the guidelines, while at Royal Papworth only 38 per cent were treated.
More than 30,000 people waited more than a month after being told they needed surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, “alarming” new data from NHS England reveals.
Your browser does not support iframes.
In total, there were 31 NHS Trusts where more than four in 10 patients were not receiving treatment within the 62-day limit.
By contrast, at the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital NHS Trust, 93 per cent of patients were treated within two months, and at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust it was 88 per cent.
The two-month target has been a government promise since 2000, but has not been met since 2015 and has never been signed into law.
Last year, only 64 per cent of cancer patients started their treatment on time, well below the government’s target of 85 per cent.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for the guarantee to become law.
The party’s Health and Social Care spokesperson, Daisy Cooper MP, said: “It is heartbreaking to see such a stark postcode lottery in cancer care across the country.”
‘We know how important it is to detect and treat cancer early to give people the best chance of survival. Unfortunately, under this Conservative government this is happening very little.
‘Behind each of these figures is a story of fear, discomfort and anxiety for thousands of families across the country.
‘This Conservative government has failed to prioritize cancer treatment times, so people simply do not receive the care they need on time.
‘This is a shameful indictment of their negligence towards our health service.
‘Every patient should have the legal right to start treatment within two months to give themselves the best chance of beating this horrible disease.
‘We need urgent investment in NHS cancer facilities, including radiotherapy machines and more cancer nurses.
“It has to be a driving force behind our attitude towards healthcare to get cancer patients the treatment they deserve.”