Over the last year (2014-2015) the NHS has failed to meet one of its key targets: that 85% of patients suspected of suffering from cancer should start treatment within 62 days of being urgently referred by their GP. In Wales the target is 95% of patients.
Quarterly figures released by the NHS in England on 20 May 2015, revealed that almost half of all NHS Trusts in England are now missing the 62 day wait target. The target has been missed by the biggest margin since figures were first collated in 2009.
In Wales the 62 day target has been met in only 83.9% of cases.
This means that over the last three months around 6000 people have had to wait longer than 62 days for referral to cancer services. The purpose of the 62 day window is to ensure that patients suspected of having cancer can be tested and treated as soon as possible. Delay in diagnosing and treating cancer can have a significant impact on treatment and mortality.
Statistics published in December 2013, following a 10 year study into cancer survival rates in Europe, found that the UK had one of the worst cancer survival rates in Europe.
Following release of the quarterly figures, Cancer Research UK stated “It is simply not good enough. The UK’s cancer survival rates lag behind comparable countries, and if we are serious about improving them, urgent action needs to be taken.”
The Clinical Negligence team at Clarke Willmott have considerable experience of acting for clients where there has been a delay in diagnosing cancer which has impacted on the client’s need for treatment and life expectancy.
If you or someone you know has experienced a delay in referral for cancer treatment and would like further advice in respect of a claim please do not hesitate to contact Vanessa Harris: Vanessa.Harris@clarkewillmott.com or alternatively please contact one of the clinical negligence team on 0800 316 8892.