HOSPITAL bosses have denied a cancer charity’s claims that potential sufferers are having to wait weeks for tests.
Bowel Cancer UK accused Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust of making some patients wait longer than the deadline of six weeks for a diagnosis, based on NHS England figures.
But the hospital hit back, saying data showing delays covered all endoscopy procedures - not just cancer diagnoses.
Bowel Cancer UK included Rotherham among 34 northern hospitals which failed to meet targets in June - the last month for which data is available.
But NHS figures showed the hospital did meet targets during three of the first six months of 2017.
NHS England aims to have no more than one per cent of patients waiting six weeks for endoscopy examinations.
Data shows that 14 per cent of Rotherham patients waited six weeks or longer for a colonoscopy in June, while 12.5 per cent waited more than six weeks for a sigmoidoscopy.
In January, 29 per cent of patients waited six weeks or more for the former test, while 26.7 per cent waited the same length of time for the latter.
The figures were 6.5 per cent and three per cent respectively in April - but fell below the one per cent target for February, March and May.
Bowel Cancer UK said the latest figures, published last month, were “further evidence that demand for diagnostic tests is outstripping capacity”.
But a spokesman for Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said it had a “strong track record” of meeting endoscopy targets.
He said patients awaiting endoscopy for bowel cancer diagnosis were always seen within two weeks - well within the NHS target.
He added: “Endoscopy is used to diagnose many conditions other than cancer.
“Across the country, demand for these procedures continues to increase.
“In June, a small number of our patients did wait longer than six weeks for their routine or follow up endoscopy.
“Our position has since improved and, during August, no patients have waited longer than six weeks.
“We are continuing to explore how we can further improve our service and increase capacity going forward - and this includes the introduction of out-of-hours and weekend working.”