1 in 5 waiting Two Months for Urgent Cancer Treatment in North Cumbria

Figures published by NHS England have shown that almost 20% of patients at North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust waited more than two months for their first cancer treatment after being urgently referred by their GP.  

Cancer waiting time statistics, published by NHS England for quarter three of 2014/15, shows that 18.2% of all cancer patients waited more than 62 days to receive their first treatment in North Cumbria.  The guidance published with the statistics states: “The operational standard for this requirement specifies that 85% of patients should wait a maximum of 62 days to begin their first definitive treatment following an urgent referral for suspected cancer from their GP”

For some types of cancer, more patients are waiting longer:  More than half of lung cancer patients (52.17%) and a third of lower gastrointestinal cancer patients waited longer than two months to start treatment.

Nationally, the waiting time target to start cancer treatment within two months has been missed for the first time ever – and has now been missed for a whole year.

Labour’s Better Plan to improve cancer care will mean better care for patients and match the best in Europe for cancer survival rates, which would save 10,000 lives a year.
The Plan includes:

  • A guaranteed maximum one-week wait for cancer tests with results, made possible by £150 million of new investment every year in diagnostic infrastructure, paid for from a levy on the tobacco companies. 
  • This will include many more ultrasound or x-ray machines installed directly in GP surgeries and community clinics.
  • A new Cancer Treatment Fund which will kick start the replacement of outdated radiotherapy machines – one in five of which are older than the recommended 10 year maximum.

Jamie Reed, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Copeland and Shadow Health Minister, said:

“Under David Cameron, cancer budgets have been cut, and experts said his NHS reorganisation led to cancer services standing still.  These figures show the impact of this upon patients

“Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer and being diagnosed is a traumatic experience for them and their loved one, but to have to wait two months for treatment after being urgently referred is not acceptable.  Doctors and nurses are working tirelessly, but the Government’s damaging policies are meaning that, despite the best efforts of NHS staff, patients are waiting longer for treatment.  This can’t be allowed to continue.


“Labour has a better plan for cancer care with guaranteed cancer tests and results within one week and with a new Cancer Treatment Fund to replace outdated machines so cancer survival rates will be the best in Europe.  With 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs, only Labour will give the NHS the resources it needs.”
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