Don’t delay cancer help

HOSPITAL bosses are urging patients with diagnosed or suspected cancer not to put off getting help.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust missed two cancer waiting time targets during August.

But it says the delay is mainly down to patients not always taking up the earliest available appointments.

The trust just missed a target of 93 per cent of breast cancer patients getting a hospital appointment within two weeks of GP referral, at 92.6 per cent. And the number of patients with suspected cancer starting treatment within 62 days of being referred was 88.2 per cent against a 90 per cent target.

Julie Gillon, chief operating officer and deputy chief executive, said in a report: “The trust continues to experience significant pressures in the delivery of the cancer standards, exasperated by the uptake of patient choice, causing delay in the diagnosis and treatment stages within the pathway.”

She told board members that summer holidays caused some delays along with the “scare factor”.

All cancer patients are appointed their own Macmillan Cancer Support nurse.

Trust chairman Paul Garvin said: “The sooner we can get people in and start treatment the better. By delaying they are only making their situation more risky.”

Provisional figures indicated the trust had achieved all cancer standards for the period of July to September.

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