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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year

NHS England misses cancer waiting times targets for another year

The latest figures reveal that, for the sixth consecutive year, NHS England has missed its Cancer Waiting Times targets, with 2019 being the worst year since the targets were introduced.

One of these is known as the ’62-day target’. This is an expectation that patients should start cancer treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral from a GP. In 2019, 5,000 more patients missed this goal when compared with 2018’s figures.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of hospital trusts routinely missed the 62-day target.

For many years, the 62-day target was met with little difficulty. However, since January 2014 the target hasn’t been achieved.

There were also longer delays in diagnosing suspected cancer patients. The number of those who had to wait longer than two weeks for a first appointment with a consultant after an urgent cancer referral from a GP increased by 30%, up 50,000 from 2018.

It is likely that staff shortages are the reason NHS England is missing these targets, as the tight deadlines mean they are quite labour intensive. Once patients have formally begun their treatment, NHS England seems to perform better, with cancer patients rating their care as 8.8/10 in the most recent survey.

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