Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Hospital trusts struggle to hit cancer targets

By Local Democracy Reporter
Steve Shaw

CANCER patients attending hospitals across mid and south Essex are not starting treatment as soon as they should be, according to newly released data.

Last month, YT reported that Thurrock had the worst record in in the country for patients receiving treatment once they had been referred to by their GP.

Thurrock has worst record in country for patients starting treatment for cancer after referred by GP.

Figures released as part of a Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership committee meeting held on Friday show that hospital trusts are failing to meet national targets.

This includes the Mid-Essex Hospital Trust, Mid-Essex CCG and Southend CCG failing to hit their target of providing 93 per cent of patients an appointment within two weeks of a cancer referral and all the trusts failing to ensure 100 per cent of patients see a specialist two weeks after a breast cancer referral.

Concern was centred particularly on the Mid-Essex Health Trust where performance dropped to below 30 per cent in May due to the lack of radiologists.

A temporary radiologist has been recruited and the STP has noted that average waiting times have already begun to improve.

The committee also noted that targets have been impacted by the number of patients who do not attend the appointments and the trusts are considering amending patients’ letters to stress their importance.

The data shows trusts have also been unable to meet the national target of providing treatment to 85 per cent of patients within 62 days of a GP referral.

Karen Wesson, director of commissioning at the Mid and South Essex CCG, said: “There is a number of issues behind this, with causes relating to demand and overcapacity, and there’s a big concern around the diagnostic and histopathology capacity due to support that.”

She added that all the trusts are working together to look at how improvements can be made.


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