Northern Ireland news

Cancer Research: Treatment waiting times ‘unacceptable'

The north's health trusts have all missed target waiting times for cancer treatment

A CHARITY has hit out at "unacceptable" waiting times for cancer treatment after every health trust in the north missed their targets.

Just over 70 per cent of patients with an urgent referral for cancer started treatment within 62 days, figures from the five health trusts show.

The target is 95 per cent of patients.

The figures, covering October to December, also show that the north's largest trust - Belfast - also failed to meet another key waiting target.

The target requires that 98 of patients diagnosed with cancer should be treated within 31 days, however the trust did not achieve this.

Margaret Carr, from Cancer Research UK, said it was "completely unacceptable" that waiting time targets were "consistently missed".

"A cancer diagnosis is an extremely distressing time for patients and their families so it’s vital that all patients receive a quick diagnosis and are able to begin their treatment as soon as possible," she said.

"Northern Ireland needs a cancer strategy which would set out effective deployment of resources, speed up diagnosis and access to services, as well as ensure the growing numbers of cancer patients receive treatment as quickly as possible.

"That's why we have launched our Northern Ireland Vs Cancer campaign calling for a plan of action and an end to these hugely concerning delays."

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