Cancer treatment wait times at eight NHS West Midlands health trusts

The Royal College of Radiologists has warned that staff shortages mean patients are often being delayed starting radiotherapy and chemotherapy. - here’s what the figures show locally

More than two-thirds of English NHS trusts are failing a key target to start treatment for cancer patients within a month, analysis of NHS data shows.

The Royal College of Radiologists issued a stark warning that staff shortages mean patients are facing worsening delays for tests or to start chemotherapy or radiotherapy, adding that every four-week delay to treatment increases the risk of death by around 10%.

Almost every UK cancer centre surveyed by the College said shortages had led to patients’ treatment being delayed, with around a quarter saying they were experiencing delays on a weekly basis. NHS rules in England say healthcare providers should ensure that at least 96% of cancer patients start treatment within 31 days of doctors deciding to treat them, and what to treat them with.

But in April, NHS England data shows 94 out of 136 hospital trusts (69% of them) failed to meet this target, with some not even managing to treat 80% of patients within the target window.

Across the country as a whole, the target was achieved for only 90% of patients, with around 2,300 patients forced to wait longer than a month.

Responding to the Royal College of Radiologists’ warning, the Department of Health and Social Care said: “There are more doctors, nurses and staff working in the NHS than ever before, with 50% more specialist cancer doctors treating patients now compared to 2010.

“The NHS is also seeing, treating and saving record numbers of people with cancer but we know there is more to do. That is why we are seeking views on our Major Conditions Strategy and the NHS will soon be publishing a long-term workforce plan setting out how it will recruit and retain even more staff.”

We’ve looked at the records of the NHS trusts in the West Midlands for starting patients’ treatment within 31 days in April. The figures include all those who started treatment within April.

Here are the cancer treatment waiting times for each NHS trust in the West Midlands.

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