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Cancer waiting times: “We have our foot on the gas,” says NHS England’s cancer lead

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NHS England’s national cancer director has said that she is “cautiously optimistic” about reaching cancer waiting time targets by March 2023, but she refused to be drawn on what had happened to the government’s proposed 10 year cancer plan.

Cally Palmer was speaking to MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee at a special one-off session on the urgent challenges facing cancer services, including workforce shortages, winter pressures, and poor performance.

Latest figures from September, published on 10 November, show that 60.5% of patients began their first treatment within 62 days of being urgently referred for suspected cancer, against a target of 85%. That target was pushed back to March 2023 from March this year.

Palmer told the committee on 23 November that the 85% target aimed to reduce the 62-day backlog to pre-pandemic levels.

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Source: BMJ, 24 November 2022

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