RCR response to new NHS England cancer wait targets
Dr Tom Roques, Vice President of the Royal College of Radiologists, said:
“We have a very long way to go with cancer performance. We have been missing the main referral to treatment target for many years. The time from referral to diagnosis is where the biggest bottlenecks are, and this is so important to fix because early diagnosis is key to improving cancer survival.
The Faster Diagnosis Standard is a far better target than the two-week wait. Measuring the time it takes to get either an ‘all clear’ or a cancer diagnosis is much more meaningful both to patients and the NHS than just assessing how long someone waits for their first appointment.
It’s disappointing that we aren’t yet meeting this new target, although it is not surprising given the extent of the workforce shortfalls we have in cancer. The Faster Diagnosis Standard is a step forward for patients in its current form, and we hope that in time it will be set at a more ambitious level. To make this possible, so that more patients get the timely diagnosis and treatment they deserve, we need to see concerted action from the Government to increase cancer capacity.”