Blackpool Hospitals Trust fails to meet cancer treatment waiting time targets

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust has not a met a new key Government cancer waiting time target in any of the six months following its introduction, figures reveal.

By Simon Drury
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 10:31 am

Cancer Research UK said the Government needs to invest more in the NHS and raise its target to prevent tens of thousands of people across England being "left in limbo" every month.

The Government introduced a new Faster Diagnostic Standard target last year for 75% of people on certain cancer-related referrals to receive either a diagnosis or the all-clear within 28 days.

But monthly NHS England figures show that between October and March, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust did not meet this target once.

Hospital bosses have failed to meet a Government target for cancer treatment waiting times

In March – the most recent data available – the Trust got back to 72.5% of its 1,776 patients within 28 days – up from 68.5% in February.

This means 489 patients at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust were waiting too long to find out whether or not they have cancer in the most recent month.

Cancer Research UK says they are among an average of 65,4000 people across England affected every month.

The 75% target has not been reached yet nationally – and fell to just 73.1% in the most recent month.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “Cancer waiting targets have been missed for years – the pandemic has only made this worse.

"Where you live affects how long you will have to wait – this is bringing stress and anxiety for those waiting."

She urged people to see their GP if they notice any unusual changes to their health as cancer diagnosed at an early stage is more likely to be treated successfully, but called on the Government to do more.

Cancer Research UK says the new standard aims to produce swifter diagnoses for patients, but due to chronic shortages of specialists, the target is too low.

The charity is calling on the Government to raise the goal to 95% within its upcoming 10-year cancer plan to reduce the number of people "left in limbo" each month, as well as plan to ensure the NHS can deliver it.