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Three-month ‘urgent’ cancer waits top 10,000 for the first time

More than 10,000 people are waiting three months or longer following an urgent referral for suspected cancer, internal NHS data seen by HSJ reveals.

Patients with suspected cancer are not supposed to wait more than two months from a referral. However, information shared with HSJ shows that of the 313,000 people on the national cancer waiting list, just over 10,000 had waited 104 days or more.

Information about three-month cancer waits is not made public on a regular basis. NHS England publishes data for the total backlog of patients waiting over 62 days, but does not make public the regional or trust-level results, or reveal how many patients are waiting three months or more.

One senior figure in cancer policy told HSJ the backlog position was “awful” and “a reflection of a worsening trajectory overwhelming diagnostic capacity in particular”. Breast, skin and lower gastro-intestinal cancers saw the biggest increases in long waiters.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 5 July 2022


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