A quarter of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals cancer patients had been waiting longer than two months for treatment in October, new figures reveal .
With hospitals in England missing national waiting times targets for cancer, routine surgery and A&E treatment, health experts have warned that the new government’s attention-grabbing policy pledges will not save a health service in critical condition.
At Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, just 74% of cancer patients started treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral, the latest NHS Digital statistics show.
It means 42 waited longer than two months, and the trust fell far below the 85% target introduced a decade ago.
Nationally, this target has not been achieved since December 2015
Officials blame mounting delays on shortages of staff and equipment, as well as beds blocked by patients needing social care.
Combined, these pressures have left the NHS braced for its worst winter on record.
Sarah Woolnough, Cancer Research UK’s executive director of policy and information, called the figures “shocking”.
She said: “Cancer waiting times are being missed year on year, and we’re still not seeing the urgent action needed to fix this.
“Although staff are working harder than ever, there just aren’t enough to diagnose and treat cancer effectively.”
An NHS spokesman said: that “NHS teams across the country are providing a record-breaking level of care”, but warned that norovirus and flu are impacting local services more heavily than last year.
He said: “That’s why it’s more important than ever for the public to help NHS staff by getting flu jabs, following advice on the NHS website if they have norovirus, using the NHS 111 phone or online service for advice on urgent medical needs, and consulting their local pharmacist for advice on minor ailments.”