Recent figures show that the NHS in England has missed one of the key cancer waiting times target for 2014; at least 85% of patients referred by their GP for suspected cancer should begin their treatment within two months.
Between October and December 2014, only 83.8% of patients were treated within that timescale. The target was breached in all four quarters of 2014 affecting more than 20,000 people.
Thousands more cancer patients are now being seen in the NHS and many other targets were met yet Macmillan Cancer Support believed this breach to represent a “fundamental failure within the NHS.”
Dr Fran Woodard, director of policy and research at Macmillan Cancer Support, said that “latest figures show that 68 trusts in England have failed to meet the target leaving more than 5,000 people waiting more than 62 days to start urgent treatment – this is simply deplorable.”
A Department of Health spokeswoman said that: “The NHS is dealing with 700,000 more cancer admissions this parliament compared to the last, while at the same time survival rates have risen to record levels – we are on track to save an extra 12,000 lives each year by 2015.”
NHS England explained that 44,000 more people were seen by a specialist within two weeks of being referred in the last quarter of 2014 when compared to 2013.