MPs' anger as cancer waits 'skyrocket'
Sarah Champion and John Healey both condemned the figures, sourced by Labour through Freedom of Information requests – which revealed the 127-day wait figure to begin treatment after an urgent GP referral to hospital.
The data also revealed patients are waiting up to 54 days to see a cancer specialist after their GP has urgently referred them.
Rotherham MP Ms Champion said: “Despite the incredibly hard work of doctors and nurses in the most difficult circumstances, waiting times to access cancer care are skyrocketing across the country.
“Timely diagnosis and treatment for cancer patients can be the difference between life and death.
I’m infuriated that people cannot access the care and treatment they desperately need, when they need it.”
Wentworth & Dearne MP Mr Healey said: “There is a crisis in cancer care which has been created by this Conservative government with patients being left to wait dangerously long for a diagnosis or treatment when their cancer could be spreading.”
Both MPs hit out at the government’s recent announcement that it is set to cut two-thirds of existing cancer waiting times standards for patients.
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “There are record numbers of cancer checks happening in the NHS, meaning almost three million people have received care that could save their lives, and there continues to be steady progress in a lot of areas of cancer performance.”
Sally Kilgariff, Rotherham Hospital’s chief operating officer, said: “Last year, almost 80 per cent of our patients were seen within the two-week target against a national target of 93 per cent and just under 75 per cent received their treatment within the standard of 62 days against a national target of 85 per cent.
“However, due to the complex nature of cancer pathways, some patients do take longer.”