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


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.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Audiences shall go to the ball this Christmas as Cinderella comes to the Churchill Theatre for this year’s pantomime.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Plans for a new library and cinema in Sidcup town centre have taken a major step forward with the appointment of DRDH architects to develop the scheme.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Wildlife enthusiasts are calling for “embarrassing” fly-tipping that is blighting marshland in Bexley to be cleared up.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A father has been found not guilty of killing his 10-week-old baby.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Entrepreneur Jo Malone has said her success is down to making “people smile and feel good” as she was made a CBE by the Prince of Wales.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A man who ran over two elderly women with his electric wheelchair was sentenced on Friday, November 16 at Southwark Crown Court.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Christmas 2018 and the Northern Lights are welcomed to Bexleyheath on Saturday, November 17 with a spectacular mix of music and dance from stilt walkers to bhangra dancers, and acoustic artists to fire shows.

Most read news

Digital Edition

Read the Bexley Times e-edition today

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