Waiting times for treatment of a suspected cancer following referral by a GP fell far short of targets during the first 3 months of this year.
The 2012/13 Ministerial Target relating to waiting times for treatment following an urgent referral for suspect cancer was that 95% of patients should begin their treatment within 62 days.
However, these targets were achieved in none of the first 3 months. Treatment within 62 days was achieved in January for 83.7% of patients, in February for 79.7%, and in March for 86.9% - all far below the Minister's target of 95%.
Once a cancer is detected and confirmed, the target is to begin treatment with 31 days. This was achieved and exceeded in all 3 months concerned, with 97% in January, 96.6% in February and 98.5% in March all being treated within the 31-day period.
For breast cancer referrals, the target is to have 95% of patients begin treatment with 14 days. While this was slightly under in January with 92.7%, it was achieved in February with 99.4% and in March with 100% of patients being seen within that deadline.