Local cancer treatment waiting times among the worst in country

By Piers Meyler - Local Democracy Reporter

10th Feb 2024 | Local News

CANCER treatment waiting times in Thurrock and South Essex are among the worst in England with almost one in five patients having to wait more than a month for treatment to start.

In the NHS Mid And South Essex Integrated Care Board area, which includes Thurrock, only 81.5 per cent of patients waited less than a month for their cancer treatment to start in November. That's the lowest ratio of any region in the country.

The NHS has a target that 96 per cent of cancer patients will wait 31-days or less from a decision to treat, to receiving their first treatment.

A national average of 90.1 per cent of patients who started their treatment in November just did so within 31 days.

Mid and South Integrated Care System, which covers hospitals in Basildon, Chelmsford and Southend have received additional investment from the Cancer Alliance – an NHS England partnership of clinicians and managers who coordinate and improve cancer care – which it says will be used provide additional clinic capacity.

It also has started a transformation programme which is focussing on how it can make the best use of clinics and how it can work more closely with GPs and community health partners to improve early detection and diagnosis.

It is aiming for 75 per cent of diagnoses to be completed within the 28-day Faster Diagnosis Standard by April 2024.

Andrew Pike, Chief Operating Officer at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Waiting for any cancer treatment is difficult and we are sorry that some people are waiting longer than we would like.

"Our cancer teams work to ensure people are seen in order of clinical priority, providing extra clinics and surgical resource across our three hospitals, making sure people are seen and treated as quickly as possible.

"Continued industrial action and the holiday period has meant that our performance has been particularly challenged, but we have clear recovery plans in place, with a focus on areas that are experiencing the greatest demand for their services."


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