Dorset missing cancer waiting time target

Dorset missing cancer waiting time target

Published by Maria Greenwood at 11:37am 15th October 2019.

Almost one in five cancer patients in Dorset had to wait more than two months to start treatment in August.

NHS England figures show that only 82% of NHS Dorset CCG patients received their first cancer treatment within 62 days of a GP urgent referral in August. 

This is up from 79% in August last year.

The NHS has a target for 85% of all referrals to start treatment within two months.

doctor looking at x-ray

Matt Case, Cancer Research UK’s policy manager, said: 

“Too many patients are waiting too long after an urgent GP referral to get a diagnosis and start treatment. It’s already a stressful time for them, and delays can make that even worse.

“Diagnosing more cancers at an early stage is impossible without more people being referred for tests. But despite NHS staff working harder than ever, there just aren’t enough people to deliver the number of tests needed.

“These figures give us a monthly reminder of how much pressure the NHS is under. To have any chance of meeting its ambitions for early diagnosis, the Government must invest to make sure we have enough key cancer staff now and in the future.”

x-ray of jaw

The figures also show that there is now a record number of patients missing out on the two-week target from referral to a consultant appointment across the country.

  • In Dorset, 82% of patients had their first consultant appointment within two weeks despite a 93% target.
  • Meanwhile, 86% had their cancer-related surgery within a month, against a target of 94%.

'Cancer services rated 9/10 by patients'

The better news for Dorset is that patients in the county have given cancer services a 9 out of 10 rating in the latest survey commissioned by NHS England.

In Dorset just under 1500 (70% of patients approached) completed the survey, which was higher than the National response rate.

Patients over the age of 16 were asked to take place in the survey following either inpatient or day care for cancer related treatment during the months of April, May and June 2018.

Overall the National average score was 8.8 however Dorset services scored 9.0. (zero being very poor and 10 being very good) 

Robert Allam, a former Dorset patient said:

"I cannot thank Dorset NHS enough for the service I received. From seeing my GP, to getting my bowel cancer diagnosis and receiving surgery and treatment - everything was first class. The staff were fantastic and saved my life!"

Richard Sim
Dr Richard Sim, Clinical Lead for the Dorset Cancer Partnership

Dr Richard Sim is the Clinical Lead for the Dorset Cancer Partnership and he said:

"I am very pleased that the hard work that all involved in the Dorset Cancer Partnership have put into ensuring an excellent service for our patients is reflected in their feedback."

Dorset scores were high for individual questions about patient cancer care and in most cases at the at the upper end of the score, below are some of the highlights.

  • 80% of respondents said that they were definitely involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment.
  • 92% of respondents said that they were given the name of a Clinical Nurses Specialist who would support them through their treatment.
  • 91% of respondents said that it had been 'quite easy' or 'very easy' to contact their Clinical Nurse Specialist.
  • 90% of respondents said that overall they were always treated with dignity and respect while they were in hospital.
  • 86% of respondents said that they thought they were seen as soon as necessary.