Cancer patients still waiting too long for treatment

Thu, 26/09/2019 - 10:39 -- Editor

The Department of Health today published the NI Cancer Waiting Times Statistics Release for April, May and June 2019.

The release gives details of the waiting times for patients accessing cancer services at hospitals during April, May and June 2019.

Key facts and figures are listed below:

Waiting times for first treatment following an urgent GP referral for suspect cancer (62 day target)

  • In June 2019, 325 patients commenced their first treatment for cancer following an urgent referral for suspect cancer. Of these, 55.4% (180 patients) started treatment within 62 days, compared with 48.9% (176 of the 360 patients) in May, 57.7% (205 of the 355 patients) in April and 70.8% (260 of the 367 patients) in June 2018.

Waiting times for first definitive treatment following a decision to treat (31 day target)

  • During June 2019, 809 patients commenced their first treatment for cancer following a decision to treat being taken. Of these, 93.3% (755) started treatment within 31 days, compared with 93% (789 of the 848 patients) in May, 92.9% (780 of the 840 patients) in April and 95.4% (806 of the 845 patients) in June 2018.

Patients first seen following an urgent referral for suspect breast cancer (14 day target)

  • During June 2019, 1,303 patients were seen by a breast cancer specialist for a first assessment following an urgent referral for suspect breast cancer. Of these, 80% (1,042) were seen within 14 days, compared with 75.4% (1,120 of the 1,486 patients) in May, 83.2% (1,027 of the 1,234 patients) and 94.1% (1,230 of the 1,307 patients) in June 2018.

Referrals for suspect breast cancer

  • In June 2019, 1,861 new referrals for suspect breast cancer were received; this compares to 2,197 in May, 1,952 in April and 1,934 in June 2018. Referrals for suspect breast cancer can be for advice, assessment or both.
  • Of those new referrals for suspect breast cancer in June 2019, 1,289 (69.3%) were classified as urgent.

Notes to editors: