Health chiefs vow to act on waiting times
HEALTH bosses have promised action after failing to meet patient waiting times in the diagnosis of bowel cancer.
East Cheshire NHS Trust, which runs Macclesfield Hospital, failed to meet the standard of less than one per cent of patients waiting six weeks or more for two tests that could diagnose bowel cancer.
The trust had a total waiting list of 410 patients for a colonoscopy test, of which 91 (22 per cent), were waiting six weeks or more.
It also had a total waiting list of 80 patients for a flexible sigmoidoscopy test, of which 11 (13.8 per cent), were waiting six weeks or more.
East Cheshire NHS Trust said it experienced ‘a temporary shortfall in capacity’ and was working to resolve the problem.
The charity Bowel Cancer UK said the waiting times shows demand is outstripping capacity.
Asha Kaur, head of policy and campaigns, said: “These waiting time figures present a worrying picture for patients and demonstrates the urgent need for the Government to make addressing this crisis a national priority. ”
Kath Senior, director of nursing, performance and quality at East Cheshire NHS Trust, said: “Our absolute priority is patient safety and we can confirm that no patient referred on a cancer pathway has waited more than six weeks for colonoscopy. The figures are for routine referrals for diagnostic tests. In line with trust policy, the patients waiting more than six weeks for a colonoscopy are being individually monitored and prioritised according to clinical need. The current waiting times for routine colonoscopy are closely monitored. In recent weeks the trust has experienced a temporary shortfall in capacity for routine colonoscopy which has led to a short term increase in waiting times for some patients. A plan is in place to return performance to normal levels as a matter of urgency.”
Mrs Senior said the trust’s performance against overall national cancer standards is ‘very good’, with over 98 per cent of patients with suspected cancer being seen within two weeks of referral.