Hospital waiting times for cancer patients are above national target

A cancer-beating 72-year-old great-gran, Wendy Simpson,  has raised more than �1,000 for the Macmillan Unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital with a 15,000ft skydive. With Wnddy (centre) are Julie Bottomley and Angela Walton.
A cancer-beating 72-year-old great-gran, Wendy Simpson, has raised more than �1,000 for the Macmillan Unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital with a 15,000ft skydive. With Wnddy (centre) are Julie Bottomley and Angela Walton.

FIGURES show Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has been beating its targets for waiting times for cancer patients.

A performance report shows 100 per cent of patients received surgery, drug or radiotherapy treatment within 31 days of a cancer diagnosis – well above targets of 94-98 per cent set by the Department of Health.

The proportion of patients seen with two weeks of a GP referral for suspected cancer was 98.4 per cent.

Cancer manager at the trust Angela Walton said: “We continue to exceed targets because we put the patient first.

“Cancer is all around us and it affects us and our families at some point.

“It is not just something that happens to someone else.

“Just because we set the targets, doesn’t mean we have to meet them – we strive to do better, see patients quicker and continually improve on them.”

The report – presented to board members on the Calderdale, Wakefield and Kirklees Primary Care Trust cluster – also showed 94.7 per cent of patients were seen within two weeks of a referral for breast symptoms, where cancer was not initially suspected.

Ms Walton added: “There is a huge psychological impact on people waiting for treatment, even as an outpatient there is an effect, so we aim to get them seen as soon as possible.”

The CHFT trust has also been rated as the second highest recruiter in Yorkshire for Cancer Research Network portfolio trials.

The trust is currently running 37 trials for different types of cancer – with a further seven trials in the set-up phase and another 20 under construction.

The trust has also played an important part in the study of ovarian cancer drug Avastin – which has just been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for treatment along with chemotherapy.

Dr Barbara Crosse, trial chief at the trust, said: “CHFT Oncology Unit has a strong reputation for clinical trials, believing that they are good for patients, set alongside high quality clinical care.

“The medical oncology team is well-supported by research nurses and assistants to ensure that trials are well run and that patients can benefit from the opportunities offered.

“We also refer patients for trials in Leeds and occasionally other institutions where, after discussion, it is thought to be in the patient’s best interests.

“We believe clinical trials are essential for the step-by-step progress in cancer treatment.”

She advised women who believe they may be suitable for Avastin treatment to discuss it with their oncologist and specialist team.

Ovarian cancer is the fourth commonest cancer in women – with approximately 6,500 new cases every year.