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Northern Irish cancer patients "lessen" by waiting times

One third of patients with suspected cancer are forced to wait too long for treatment because the Waiting periods continue to worsen.

The last waiting figures show that only 66.7% of patients with an urgent referral for suspected cancer were treated within 62 days in October to December last year.

All Northern Ireland Health Workers Missed the Waiting Time Target of 95

Cancer Research UK described it as "extremely disappointing" and said the patients were "let down."

The latest figures show that in December 2017, 348 patients started the first cancer treatment following an urgent referral for suspected cancer.

Of these, 66.4% – 231 patients – started initial treatment within 62 days

compared to 66.0% – 280 of 424 patients – in November 2017.

The numbers also show that 80 , 7% of patients were first seen in December within 14 days of an urgent referral for suspected breast cancer.

This is a decrease of 81.5% within 14 days in October 2017 and compared with 91.4% of patients ts seen in December 2016.

In December 2017, 1,408 new recommendations for suspected breast cancer were received; compared to 1,933 in November 2017 and 2,015 in October 2017.

Of these new recommendations for suspected breast cancer in December 2017, 1,011 were classified as urgent [19659002] Compared to 12 months ago, the two main targets are the cancer services measured by both have worsened.

Cancer Research UK said the 95% target for 2009 in Northern Ireland was never met.

Cancer Research UK's Public Affairs Manager for Northern Ireland, Margaret Carr, said: "Once again, we have the extremely disappointing news that these goals have not been met, in fact they have never been hit again for over eight years, and the Delays are worsening and patients are being abandoned.

"Some people wait too long to find out if they have cancer and start treatment that is a difficult time for them and their families.

"Health workers are working in a difficult environment and doing their best for patients, but the absence of a convention and executive means there is no current cancer strategy or action plan to redesign cancer services in Northern Ireland."

"Some of the recent announced additional funding for health transformation should be set aside to improve cancer screening.

"It's critical that we see progress as quickly as possible."

Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs said the latest cancer lunches illustrate the "human tragedy" that engulfs the local health service.

He said, "Cancer is a disease that thrives in a vacuum, so the sooner it is recognized and the treatment can begin, the better the chance of a patient achieving a successful outcome."

"It is, therefore deeply discouraged that recent cancer latencies have worsened again.

"The situation is particularly bad in relation to breast cancer in parts of Northern Ireland, with the government's supposedly rigid goal being that every single urgent breast cancer should be seen within 14 days."

"Despite the entire Southern Trust area covering the area around Dungannon, Craigavon ​​and Newry, the average for the last three months of 2017 was a staggering 37%. "

Belfast Telegraph

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