The continuing failure of Northern Ireland’s health trusts to meet cancer patient waiting time targets must be addressed, a leading cancer research charity has said.
New figures released on Thursday show that in March only 69% of those with an urgent referral from their GP (234 of 339) started treatment within 62 days. In January 2017 the figure was 67% (253 out of 377 patients).
During the last quarter (January to March 2017) all of the Province’s health trusts missed the target of 95% which was introduced in 2009.
Margaret Carr of Cancer Research UK in Northern Ireland, said: “The fact these targets have once again been missed is sadly an all too familiar picture. We know an early diagnosis and swift access to appropriate treatment is key to a patient’s best chance of survival.”
Ms Carr added: “The repeated failure to meet cancer waiting times targets shows the system is creaking under the weight of increased demand and a plan of action is urgently needed. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK without an up-to-date cancer strategy. It’s crucial we see fast progress on this to ensure no one is left waiting too long.”