Cancer wait times targets missed in 98% of NHS England

England’s socialized healthcare system has failed to meet its own cancer waiting time target in 98 per cent of areas, an analysis has found.

Only two of the 107 areas of England covered by the National Health System (NHS) have met the cancer waiting time target set by NHS ENgland, which states that no more than fifteen per cent of people who have received an urgent warning should wait less than two months to start treatment.

Analysis of government figures, carried out by Sky News, found that only Bolton and Calderdale, both in West Yorkshire, actually met the target, meaning people’s lives in 98 per cent of the areas covered by the socialized health system was endangered by delays.

The report goes on to say that the problem of long waiting times for cancer patients has been exacerbated by the Chinese coronavirus crisis, with nearly twice as many people waiting more than two months for treatment compared to before the pandemic. In 2022, the number of people forced to wait more than two months has tripled compared to ten years ago.

However, the problem of the NHS not meeting its own targets is a long-standing one, according to the outlet, which reported that the 15 per cent standard has not been met in England as a whole since 2014.

The damning analysis follows the publication of a report by the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, which concluded that the socialized healthcare system in England still lags far behind other comparable countries in terms of outcomes for cancer patients.

According to the parliamentary committee, only 58.9% of people diagnosed with colon cancer in England survive for at least five years, compared to 66.8% in Canada and 70.8% in Australia.

The report also highlighted figures from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which said that of 28 comparable countries, the UK ranked 14th in oesophageal cancer survival, 21st in breast cancer. liver, 22nd for brain cancer, 25th for pancreatic cancer, 26th for stomach cancer and 27th for lung cancer.

The Health and Social Care Committee said the “most effective way” to improve cancer survival rates would be to diagnose the disease earlier, noting that diagnosing bowel cancer at stage one gives the patient has a 90% chance of living at least five more years. years compared to 10% for people diagnosed at stage 4.

MPs said they agreed with the government’s stated target of diagnosing 75 per cent of cancer patients at stage one or two by 2028. Yet the committee said their modeling suggests that the rate diagnosis centers are expected to remain ‘static’ at around 54% until 2028, although the government has invested £2.3 billion to build 100 new community diagnostic centres.

The report also confirmed previous reports of the negative effects of the pandemic on cancer outcomes, with 45,000 fewer people presenting for cancer treatment in the UK during lockdowns compared to previous years.

“Witnesses described having to ration treatment, comparing work in cancer wards during the pandemic to that of 25 years ago. The effect of reluctance to come forward, delayed diagnosis and delayed treatment will almost certainly mean that many lives will end prematurely,” the report states.

The report went on to say that even during the recent wave of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, there have still been cancellations of life-saving cancer treatments “indicating that the NHS is still unable to access a capacity enough treatment without Covid to save treatments and deal with the backlog.

Although it has made progress in cancer outcomes since the 1970s, the committee warned that due to failure to recruit new staff, the socialized healthcare system could see those gains reversed.

“Some witnesses to our investigation have suggested that recent initiatives will lead to results in England to catch up with other countries, but there is no evidence of this in the figures we have seen,” the MPs said.

A spokesperson for NHS England said: “Cancer is and has been a priority for the NHS throughout the pandemic – and we have continued to implement new ways to diagnose cancer earlier, including expanding lung health checks in supermarket car parks, rolling out awareness campaigns to encourage people to get their symptoms checked sooner, and testing innovations like a blood test to detect more than 50 types of cancer even before symptoms do not appear.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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