THURROCK has the worst record in the country for patients starting their treatment for cancer after being referred to by their GP.
Only 59% of cancer patients started treatment within two months. The best record is in South Cheshire CCG where it was 93%.
YT asked a number of organisations, what action they were taking to tackle the problem.
Jane Foster-Taylor, Chief Nurse, NHS Thurrock CCG said: “Since the Cancer Deep Dive was published in November 2015 the NHS have had a target to achieve the national trajectory for cancer referral and treatment.
“We know there are areas we need to improve on. The CCG is actively engaged in cancer transformation and is represented at the STP Cancer Board by the Joint Commissioning Team.
“We have been working with GPs across the STP in relation to improving two week referrals, this led to changes in the two week referral process and forms for Lung, Urology and Upper GI to expedite the referral process and ensure patients are well informed they have been referred on a cancer pathway.”
“Further information on the work we are doing to improve Cancer waiting times is available from our Annual report 2017/18 pages 25 and 51
Cllr James Halden, Portfolio Holder for Education and Health, said: “The Cancer Deep Dive was published by Public Health in November 2015. It identified the need for the local NHS to work towards the national target for cancer referral and treatment. This is one of a number of priorities Thurrock’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy Board is focusing on to improve patient outcomes for residents in the borough.
“Thurrock Council continue to commission Public Health improvement programmes for residents that may impact on preventing cancer, for example those that reduce obesity, improve nutrition and help people to quit smoking.
“We will also continue providing ongoing public health informatics support to Thurrock CCG on cancer through our Joint Strategic Needs Assessment process.”
Dr Jeanette Dickson, vice president of clinical oncology at the Royal College of Radiologists, said that while the figures “are a cause for concern” they are a slightly crude measure for judging cancer diagnosis.
Dr Dickson said: “In an ideal world we would want it to be 100%,” Dr Dickson said. However, she explained getting from the GP to treatment is a complicated process requiring many different appointments and staff.
“There is currently a shortage of radiologists (doctors who give X-rays), and to a lesser extent oncologists (doctors specialising in cancer).
Sara Bainbridge, from Cancer Research UK, said: “We know that local hospitals are making every effort to meet this target, and other cancer waiting times improved from January to February.
“Part of the reason why hospitals are struggling to meet the target is because NHS diagnostic services are short staffed.
“We need the government to make sure there are more staff to deliver the tests and treatment that people need on time.”” An NHS England spokesman said: “Cancer survival is now at its highest ever, and over the past year the NHS treated more patients within the fast-track waiting target than the year before.” Sponsored Links .