Data shows South Tyneside NHS trust nearly reaching key target to start treatment for cancer patients
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The Royal College of Radiologists issued a stark warning this week that staff shortages mean patients are facing worsening delays for tests or to start chemotherapy or radiotherapy, adding that every four-week delay to treatment increases the risk of death by around 10%.
Almost every UK cancer centre surveyed by the College, including South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust, said shortages had led to patients’ treatment being delayed, with around a quarter saying they were experiencing delays on a weekly basis.
NHS rules in England say healthcare providers should ensure that at least 96% of cancer patients start treatment within 31 days of doctors deciding to treat them, and what to treat them with.
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According to the data, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust treated 180 patients in April 2023 with 172 of those starting treatment within 31 days of the decision to treat. This left the trust with 95.6% of patients being treated within the key target window. This is slightly below the 96% target put in place by the NHS.
In comparison, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust saw 97.7% of 177 patients treated within the target window.
The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were only able to meet the target for 86.6% of 516 patients.
NHS England data shows 69% of trusts failed to meet the target.