Cancer Research UK release new data on cancer wait times

This morning, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) released data from its survey of 1,004 UK GPs. The survey asked about the GPs’ experience during the month of October.

Key findings of the survey included:

  • The majority of GPs had seen an increase in waiting times for tests commonly used to help diagnose cancer.
  • 38% of GPs stated their practice was finding it tough to meet demand for remote consultations, and 35% stated the same for face-to-face appointments.

GPs said wait times have increased for the majority of diagnostic services, including:

  • ultrasounds, which are used in the diagnosis of some gynaecological cancers and sarcomas
  • upper GI endoscopies, used to detect oesophageal cancer
  • lower GI endoscopies, used to detect bowel cancer
  • chest X-rays, used to help diagnose lung cancer
  • blood tests, used to help detect a range of cancers
  • CT scans, used to detect cancer in the chest, abdomen and pelvis
  • MRI scans, used to detect brain tumours

This data comes as the HSJ reports that, according to NHS data, the waiting list for cancer patients has almost doubled over the last seven months. The HSJ states that the total number of patients waiting for cancer treatment on the 62-day pathway has increased from around 90,000 in mid-May, to around 160,000 at the start of December. However, they note that there has been progress in treating patients waiting the longest.

This data comes as NHS England has this week published its cancer services recovery plan, with the main aims of restoring demand to pre-pandemic levels, reducing the waiting list and ensuring efficient capacity for future demands.