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Cancer patients being let down - Labour

14 August 2017 08:45

Theresa May's Tories have been criticised over their record on cancer waiting times

Theresa May's Tories have been criticised over their record on cancer waiting times

Labour has criticised the way in which cancer patients and their families have been treated under the Conservative Government.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth criticised the May Government over its record on cancer treatment calling it a "staggering failure" and saying cancer patients were "being let down".

He said: "Theresa May's first year in office has been characterised by unprecedented numbers of cancelled operations and delayed cancer treatments."

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to ramp up the criticism of the Conservatives during visits to Swindon and Bristol on Friday.

Cancer patients can arrange specialist medical travel insurance.

What the numbers say

The number of cancer patients waiting for treatment after being urgently referred by their GP has rose significantly over the past half-decade, says an analysis of data by the Labour Party.

The number of patients waiting at least two months for treatment reached 26,710 in the year to April - a rise of 87% compared to five years earlier, its statistics reveal.

Further analysis of the latest quarterly cancer performance statistics showed 105,471 patients waited two weeks or longer for a first consultant appointment following an urgent GP referral over the same period, up 121% in five years.

Figures released by NHS England on Thursday showed in June, two of eight cancer targets were not met, including the 85% standard for 62 days between referral from a GP and first treatment.

Call for urgent action

Mr Ashworth called on the Prime Minister to take "urgent action" on cancer treatment.

"Her staggering failure to properly support cancer services has placed entirely unnecessary mental and physical strain on thousands of families, as well as on our overstretched and undervalued cancer workforce.

"Frankly, cancer patients and their loved ones are being let down by this Government.

"This disgraceful situation cannot be allowed to continue and one year into her premiership, the Prime Minister must finally take urgent action to ensure cancer treatment remains world class in our NHS."