Patient concern over cancer treatment delays

Almost half of suspected cancer patients in Lincolnshire face more than a two-month wait for treatment from the first point of the disease being suspected, NHS data shows.

The statistics, from early 2024, show more than 41% of patients were waiting over 62 days.

The proportion of patients who were treated within 62 days is far below the national NHS England standard of 85%.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) said improving care for those with suspected cancer "remains a priority".

ULHT runs sites in Lincoln, Grantham, Boston and Louth.

The statistics revealed that in January 2024, there were 679 people receiving treatment for cancer at ULHT.

The trust was narrowly performing below the national benchmark of a maximum four-week wait from urgent referral to diagnosis, the figures show.

The rate was 69.4% in Lincolnshire and 70.8% nationally.

'Constant pain'

Rachael Tollerton was told she has a rare form of stomach cancer after a three-week wait for a diagnosis, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

She attended Lincoln County Hospital and felt the hospital required “more urgency” when dealing with cases like hers.

“If I have to wait 62 days, there will be nothing left of me,” she said.

“I don’t know what my prognosis will be, but it concerns me because I’m in constant pain."

She added: "I would hope it will be quicker than that.

"If it is going to be at least two months before treatment, that is really concerning.”

Amanda Markall, ULHT deputy chief operating officer, said: “Improving care for people with suspected cancer remains a priority, and we are working towards meeting the national targets by the end of March 2025.

“As part of this commitment, we are reducing waiting times by improving access to diagnostic testing, increasing the number of outpatient appointments available and increasing our theatre capacity to allow us to offer more operations.”

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United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust