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Urgent cancer patients' waiting times slip in East Lancashire
NHS chiefs are concerned about the number of ‘urgent’ cancer patients being forced to wait longer than two months for treatment.
More than 60 patients waited longer than the target 62 days at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) between April and September according to figures published by NHS England.
Trust board papers revealed nine patients waited longer than 100 days, while one waited 133 days.
The trust, which runs the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals, aims to hit the target in 85 per cent of cases but performance for Blackburn with Darwen residents slipped to 79 per cent over the summer months. The trust-wide figure was 82 per cent.
The poor performance raised concerns at Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group, which jointly funds ELHT.
Dr Malcolm Ridgway, clinical director for quality and effectiveness, said: “There’s a whole range of issues as to why the target hasn’t been hit, but we’re concerned because this may affect patient outcomes.”
Dr Ridgway said East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, the lead commissioner for ELHT, have given some assurances about improvements but he was worried the targets would not be met.
Reasons for delays included late referrals between tumour groups within hospitals and complex diagnostics processes.
Val Bertenshaw, director of operations at ELHT, said the national intensive support team visited last week and reported finding ‘no significant concerns or significant issues’.
She said: “For October, following validation we are at 85.1 per cent against a target of 85 per cent and we predict that we will achieve the standard for November.”
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