Macmillan comments on September 2018’s cancer waiting times

Commenting on cancer waiting times for September 2018, published today by NHS England, Dr Fran Woodard, Executive Director of Policy and Impact at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:

“These figures are further evidence of a worrying trend which demonstrates that the pressure on cancer services is truly beginning to bite. We must not forget that at the heart of these figures are thousands of cancer patients anxiously waiting for referral for diagnosis or to start treatment.”

“It is imperative the Government now seizes the once-in-a-generation opportunity to address the challenges facing the workforce in the NHS Long Term Plan. We cannot expect world-class cancer care for patients in the future without enough staff with the right skills to deliver it.”

Fact box:

· The 62-day target was breached again in September 2018 — only 78% of patients in England started treatment within two months of being urgently referred by their GP with suspected cancer, against the target of 85%.

· The 62-day target has now been breached for 33 months in a row.

· 2/3 of NHS hospital trusts in England (66%) missed the 62-day target in September 2018, with 40 trusts — over one in 4 — missing it by 10 percentage points or more*.

· Since the beginning of the year, over 20,000 people waited more than two months for treatment to start after an urgent GP referral, including around 9,000 people who waited for more than three months**.

· Since the target was first breached in January 2014, over 118,000 people have waited more than two months for treatment to start.

· The two week wait for referral from a GP to see a specialist was also missed in September 2018, with 92% of patients seeing a specialist within two weeks of being urgently referred by their GP, against a target of 93% (affecting over 15,000 patients). This is the sixth month in a row that this target has been missed.

*This refers to all provider trusts at which 5 or more patients started cancer treatment in September 2018, which amounts to 141 trusts in total.

**Refers to January — September 2018 inclusive.


For further information, please contact:

Katie Mallion, Media & PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support

020 7091 2423 (out of hours 07801 307068)

About Macmillan Cancer Support

Being told ‘you have cancer’ can affect so much more than your health — it can also affect your family, your job, even your ability to pay the bills. But you’re still you. We get that. And, after over 100 years of helping people through cancer, we get what’s most important: that you’re treated as a person, not just a patient.

It’s why we’ll take the time to understand you and all that matters to you, so we can help you get the support you need to take care of your health, protect your personal relationships and deal with money and work worries.

We’re here to help you find your best way through from the moment of diagnosis, so you’re able to live life as fully as you can. For information, support or just someone to talk to, call 0808 808 00 00 or visit