It has been revealed that waiting times for the treatment of cancer have fallen below the target that is expected of NHS England. A target has been set for hospitals to start 85% of patients’ cancer treatments, within 62 days of the initial referral from the GP. However, according to the quarterly records for 2018-2019, only 37 out of 131 facilities for cancer services have met this target, showing astonishing failures across England. For further information on these reports, see: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/cancer-waiting-times/

The worst hospitals for waiting times have also been found, with the Royal Wolverhampton starting treatment on only 62.8% of patients, within 62 days of initially being referred. The Royal Wolverhampton falls short of the target by a significant 22.2%, suggesting that it fails a number of its cancer patients.

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust was ranked 93 out of 131 trusts for their cancer waiting times, suggesting that they fall short of the standards set out by NHS England. 75.7% of patients started cancer treatment within the 62 days of referral, showing that the hospital is 9.3% under target. Overall, in England, 79.7% of patients started their treatments within 62 days, reiterating the poor position of the Midland trust, as they are still 4% below this figure.

Regarding the reports of cancer waiting times, the Public Accounts Committee Chairman, Meg Hillier, stated that “It is unacceptable that the proportion of patients being treated within NHS waiting times standards is continuing to spiral downwards; NHS England and the Department of Health & Social Care must regain control”.

At the beginning of the year, the NHS stated that cancer was one of the main priorities for their 10-year investment plan. To combat cancer, the NHS expressed that they were investing in newer, faster diagnostic centres and scanners, which should increase rates of survival, due to early detection, diagnosis and treatment. However, alongside rapid detection, it would also be expected that treatment will also be sooner. For more information, please see our previous blog: https://individuals.freeths.co.uk/post/102f6gh/cancer-care-review-has-found-missed-opportunities-and-delayed-diagnoses.

The longer it takes to diagnose and treat a patient for cancer, the higher their chances are of the illness becoming more aggressive and life threatening. At Freeths Solicitors, the Clinical Negligence team has many years of experience dealing with the effects of delays in diagnosis and treatment of cancer. 

Claire Cooper, a Solicitor based in our Freeths Derby and Stoke offices has recently settled two cases relating to incorrect cancer treatment. We are also continuing to represent a number of clients who received incorrect diagnoses, or whose cancer was missed resulting in a progression of tumours, worsening of symptoms and advancement of the disease.

If you think that you, or a loved one may have been affected due to a delay in cancer treatment, then please contact someone in our team:-

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent/Birmingham) on 0845 274 6830 karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk 

Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester/Nottingham) on 0845 272 5724 jane.williams@freeths.co.uk 

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes) on 0186 578 1019 carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

For further information on this BBC news report, please follow the link:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-48600926