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Marked deterioration in NHS cancer waits

Only 37 trusts are meeting the 62 day urgent referral target

There has been a significant deterioration in the NHS’ ability to meet waiting time targets for cancer treatment, an analysis shows.

Hospitals are meant to start treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral in 85% of cases.

Five years ago, 92 NHS trusts in England were achieving the target, but over the past year the number has slumped to 37.

The figure is even worse in Northern Ireland, where just over 60% of patients are seen in 62 days, according to the analysis of the BBC’s NHS Tracker.

The data also shows that since the cancer, A&E and routine operation targets were introduced a decade ago, there has now been a 12-month period (2017-18) where no part of the UK met any of the targets.

Back in 2012-13, England was hitting 86% of its targets, Scotland 42% and Northern Ireland 25%.

Northern Ireland and Wales have failed to hit a target for at least five years, the analysis shows.