Why is England’s cancer crisis getting worse? - BBC Newsnight

Why is England’s cancer crisis getting worse? – BBC Newsnight

The NHS has a target for every hospital to treat 85% of cancer sufferers within two months of an urgent referral from their GP, but a Newsnight analysis of cancer waiting time data shows that fewer than 1 in 10 hospital trusts in England are hitting that target. That is down from one in two in 2015.

Our chief correspondent David Grossman hears from a cancer patient who felt he was lost in the system as he waited 10 months for surgery following a a blood test that revealed he could have prostate cancer.

We also spoke on condition of anonymity to a clinical consultant oncologist who told us the focus on cancer waiting time targets was actually causing more harm than good, and distracting hospital trusts from fixing a “paralysed system”.

Meanwhile a flash survey by Radiotherapy UK of 619 radiotherapy professionals – 10% of the radiotherapy workforce – suggests almost three quarters do not feel that senior NHS managers understand the impact on them of the current situation, and 8 out of 10 felt that has caused them or their colleagues to consider leaving.

In an exclusive interview, Clinical Director of Cancer for NHS England Professor Peter Johnson insisted now was not the time to give up on clearing the record cancer backlog – despite the target for doing so having slipped three times on his watch.

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