• Trusts hit 62 day wait target 82.3 per cent of time against 85 per cent target
  • Charity critcises “unacceptable” performance
  • NHS has now missed the target for nearly three years

NHS providers continued to miss the main national cancer target in the second quarter of 2016-17, according to performance data published today.

Trusts hit the 62 day wait from urgent GP referral to first definitive treatment target 82.3 per cent of the time, against the 85 per cent target, for the months between July and September.

This is slightly worse than the first quarter of the year when it was met 82.4 per cent of the time.

Cancer charities said it was “unacceptable” that the NHS was still failing against the 62 day metric – a target which has not been hit across the NHS for a quarter for nearly three years.

The health service, including work contracted to private providers, saw 36,858 patients in the second quarter, 1,621 of which had to wait for more than 104 days for their first definitive treatment.

Performance was better against the other cancer targets: 94.1 per cent of people were seen by a specialist within two weeks of an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer (93.7 per cent in Q1 2016-17); and 97.6 per cent of people treated began first definitive treatment within 31 days of receiving their diagnosis for all cancers (97.6 per cent in Q1 2016-17).

The NHS England data shows a huge variation on the 62 day target.

Worst 10 performers

TrustTotal casesTreated within 62 daysSeen after 104 days
ROYAL BROMPTON AND HAREFIELD FOUNDATION TRUST 23 56.52% 4
ROYAL NATIONAL ORTHOPAEDIC HOSPITAL TRUST 20.5 58.54% 2.5
THE CLATTERBRIDGE CANCER CENTRE FOUNDATION TRUST 142.5 60.70% 11.5
SOUTHEND UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL FOUNDATION TRUST 245.5 67.62% 23
NORTH MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL TRUST 94 68.09% 7
GUY’S AND ST THOMAS’ FOUNDATION TRUST 329.5 68.29% 29.5
EAST AND NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE TRUST 332.5 68.57% 31.5
WORCESTERSHIRE ACUTE HOSPITALS TRUST 427.5 69.36% 34.5
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON HOSPITALS FOUNDATION TRUST 221 71.49% 25
THE CHRISTIE FOUNDATION TRUST *see clarification below 244.5 72.19% 13.5

Best 10 performers

TrustTotalTreated within 62 daysSeen after 104 days
KINGSTON HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST 149 94.30% 1
WRIGHTINGTON, WIGAN AND LEIGH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST 158.5 93.38% 0.5
CROYDON HEALTH SERVICES NHS TRUST 170.5 92.38% 3
BOLTON NHS FOUNDATION TRUST 181 92.27% 0.5
MID CHESHIRE HOSPITALS NHS FOUNDATION TRUST 197.5 92.15% 5
TAMESIDE HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST 113.5 91.63% 1.5
ROYAL UNITED HOSPITALS BATH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST 276.5 91.32% 1
CALDERDALE AND HUDDERSFIELD NHS FOUNDATION TRUST 238 91.18% 4.5
AIREDALE NHS FOUNDATION TRUST 117.5 91.06% 2
BARNSLEY HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST 114.5 90.83% 1

Cancer Research UK head of policy Emma Greenwood said: “Today’s figures show the NHS in England is still missing targets for cancer patients. Nearly three years of failure is unacceptable.

“It’s important to keep in mind just how many people are affected by this failure. More than 6,500 people had to wait longer than two months to start treatment after being referred as an urgent case by their GP in this last quarter.

“Ensuring patients are diagnosed quickly is a vital part of improving their chances of survival and reducing the worry and anxiety that suspected cancer can cause.

“Improving waiting times and achieving earlier diagnosis of cancer is a priority in England’s cancer strategy. It’s vital that faster progress is made to improve poor waiting times and ensure the NHS can diagnose all patients swiftly.”

UPDATED 14 November 2016: The Christie Foundation Trust has told HSJ the data “does not accurately reflect [the trust’s] waiting times performance”. The trust said it was “one of the best performers in England” when the data was correctly “revised” to reflect “whole patient pathways”.

Chief executive Roger Spencer told HSJ: “NHS Improvement and NHS England use revised data, adjusted to reflect the performance for whole patient pathways across organisations, to monitor the performance of hospitals in Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

“This data shows the national target has been consistently exceeded in our cancer network every quarter since October 2011 with the latest performance figure of 87.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2016-17.”

Mr Spencer added that the trust’s individual performance figure in September 2016 was 88.5 per cent against the 85 per cent target.

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