35,000 more cancer patients face delayed referrals under Tory rule | British News

A general view of medical equipment on an NHS hospital ward at Ealing Hospital in London. Picture date: Wednesday January 18, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story INDUSTRY strikes. Photo credit should read: Jeff Moore/PA Wire

Too many cancer patients waiting too long for hospital appointments, Labor says (Image: PA)

Almost 35,000 people wait more than two weeks for an appointment at a cancer hospital every month since the Conservatives came to power, according to Labor.

This compares to 3,135 when the Labor Party left office in May 2010, they say.

Labor says this year nearly 420,000 more people than when they were last in government will wait more than two weeks for a follow-up appointment after being told they may have cancer by their GP.

The party stresses that this is not due to the effects of the Covid pandemic.

It said that in January 2020, two months before coronavirus restrictions were introduced, 19,035 cancer patients had missed the NHS’ two-week target – a six-fold increase.

The party said it recognized that referrals for suspected cancer had increased over the past 13 years.

However, data provided to Labor by the Commons Library showed that the proportion of patients seen within two weeks had fallen for each cancer type compared to 2010.


Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said his mission was to fix the NHS (Image: PA)

The figures show that in 2010/11, 95.5% of all patients suspected of having cancer were offered a follow-up appointment within two weeks.

In 2022/23, this value dropped to 79.4%.

In May 2010, figures from NHS England showed that 996 people had waited more than two months for their cancer treatment to start.

The number rose to 3,316 in February 2020, just before the pandemic.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has said part of his mission to fix the NHS is to reduce cancer waiting times.

The party’s proposals include training 7,500 more doctors and 10,000 more nurses a year funded by scrapping the Non-Dom tax status, using spare capacity in the private sector to tackle the NHS backlog and reforming the NHS to shift its focus to early diagnosis intervention.

Labor has said its plans aim to ensure that 75% of all cancers are diagnosed as stage one or stage two.

Shadow Health Secretary Karin Smyth said: “After 13 years of Conservative government, cancer care is in crisis.”

“The Tories have caused too many cancer patients to wait too long to be diagnosed, see a specialist and start treatment.” In cancer, delays cost lives.

“A Labor government will improve cancer survival rates by meeting all NHS targets for cancer waiting times and early diagnosis within five years.”

The Conservative Party suggested that Labor opposition to the government’s plan, first announced in the budget, to abolish the lifetime pension supplement would result in more doctors taking early retirement.

A Tory spokesman said: “Patients in Labour-led Wales are waiting seven weeks longer for treatment than in England.”

“If Labor wants to cut waiting lists, they should support our plan to bring more doctors into the NHS.” Instead, they are opting for early retirement of doctors.

“Conservatives are cutting NHS waiting lists to ensure people get the care they need, including by hiring a record number of doctors and nurses and investing an extra £45.6bn in health and social care.”

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Justin Scaccy

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