Published: 03/11/2005 Volume 115 No. 5980 Page 19

Caroline Shaw, chief executive, Christie Hospital trust

I was interested to read your feature on cancer treatment targets and the problems some trusts are facing (Clinical Management, page 30, 22 September).

As the sole tertiary centre for a population of 3.2 million across Greater Manchester and Cheshire, the targets have been a huge challenge.

But I am delighted to report dramatic improvements since the article was written.

We met the 31-day target in 85 per cent of cases last week - from 31 per cent in September.

The improvement is down to a number of factors.

The intensive support team for cancer waits have helped us develop an action plan which includes:

. Detailed capacity and demand analysis and a new performance- management regime.

. Systems and processes to track each patient, so at any time we know where they are on the care pathway.

. Extending capacity in outpatient clinics and radiotherapy.

. Extensive communications on the importance of this to improving care.

The engagement and support of our staff has been vital.

We could never have made the current improvements without their dedication and hard work.