Search

Almost one in four Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group cancer patients have to wait more than two months to start treatment

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:47 18 June 2018

Almost one in four of Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group’s cancer patients waited at least two months to start treatment following referral by their GP. Picture: Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

Almost one in four of Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group’s cancer patients waited at least two months to start treatment following referral by their GP. Picture: Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

Archant

Almost one in four of Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group’s cancer patients waited at least two months to start treatment following referral by their GP.

During the 2017-18 financial year, 654 total cancer patients were referred to hospital urgently by their doctors, but 151 did not start their treatment within 62 days, according to NHS figures.

The government has a target of 85pc of all referrals to have treatment start within two months.

This is to allow for the minority of patients who choose to delay their course of treatment, which may be chemotherapy, surgery or radiation therapy.

In Bexley CCG 76.9% of patients began treatment within two months of an urgent GP referral, well below the NHS target.

That is lower than 2016-17, when 78.9% of patients started treatment two months after referral.

Across England more than three quarters of all CCGs are running below the operational target.

The best record is in South Cheshire CCG where 93% of cancer patients started treatment within two months. But in Thurrock CCG, Essex, it was just 59%.

Dr Jeanette Dickson, vice president of clinical oncology at the Royal College of Radiologists, said that while the figures “are a cause for concern” they are a slightly crude measure for judging cancer diagnosis.

“In an ideal world we would want it to be 100%,” Dr Dickson said.

However, she explained getting from the GP to treatment is a complicated process requiring many different appointments and staff.

“There is currently a shortage of radiologists (doctors who give X-rays), and to a lesser extent oncologists (doctors specialising in cancer).

“Some people will choose to delay the treatment beyond the two month time period.”

Dr Dickson said the time periods required for treating different forms of cancer are vastly different.

“With your average male prostate cancer patient, you will do nothing but examine and watch for ten years.

“However, with tongue cancer or aggressive lung cancer you need to start treatment within three weeks otherwise it’s likely the patient will have less chance surviving.”

Across England the percentage of patients starting treatment within two months has dropped from 87.1% in 2012-2013, to 82.1% last year.

The operational target hasn’t been hit since 2013.

Emlyn Samuel, head of policy development at Cancer Research UK, called on the Government to recruit more staff.

He said: “While most patients start their cancer treatment within two months of an urgent referral, the target of 85% of patients is still being missed.

“We know that local hospitals make every effort to meet this target, but shortages in NHS diagnostic staff put services under severe pressure.

“Waiting for tests or to start treatment can be an anxious time for patients, so the Government must ensure that there are more staff to deliver the tests and treatment that people need.”

An NHS England spokeswoman said: “Cancer survival is now at an all-time high, but as part of our push for earlier diagnosis the NHS is deliberately putting itself under pressure by significantly increasing the number of people referred for quick cancer checks.

“So last year over 1.9 million people were urgently referred for suspected cancer by their GP - half a million more than just three years ago.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Bexley Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Bexley Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Bexley Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Bexley news

Monday, September 24, 2018

Bexleyheath based big cat keeper and author, Martin Hill, has released another picture book about the relationship between three young big cats.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Kent travel to Birmingham for their Specsavers County Championship Division Two title showdown with Warwickshire starting on Monday.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

We talk to hundreds of local business owners every day; we hear their concerns, understand their challenges and share in their successes.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Kent’s Joe Denly and Rory Burns of Surrey earned earned their first Test call-ups for England’s forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka on Friday, but national selector Ed Smith insists there is no pressure to become “the new Alastair Cook”.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The 80-year-old, who has scored more than 300 games, earned praise from England cricketer Stuart Broad

Thursday, September 20, 2018

County Championship Division Two: Glamorgan (186 & 78) lost by an innings and 172 runs to Kent (436)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Kent centurion Zak Crawley admitted it felt good to finally score his maiden century for the county on Wednesday.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

At the age of 15, notorious Bexley criminal Kenneth Noye left Bexleyheath School in 1962.

Most read news

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Bexley Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Bexley Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24