It has been announced that by 2020 patients should be given a cancer diagnosis or the all clear within 28 days. It is projected that a faster diagnosis could save up to 11,000 lives a year.
The announcement comes after a cross-party group of MPs warned that cancer services had “lost momentum” in the past two years.
There are approximately 280,000 people diagnosed with cancer each year and over half survive for at least 10 years. However the UK still lags behind other European Countries in cancer survival rates and these new measures aim to close that gap.
Currently cancer patients are meant to see a cancer specialist within two weeks of being referred by their GP. However, under the existing targets, many patients face a long wait to receive the results of investigations. This has therefore meant that patients do not always commence treatment within the recommended sixty two days.
The Health Secretary said that speeding up diagnosis would mean that we would need more cancer consultants, specialist nurses, and staff trained in endoscopies and diagnostic tests.
According to the Department of Health whether this target is achievable will only be clear once trials are completed.
The chief executive of Cancer Research UK and chairman of the Independent Cancer Taskforce, Mr Harpal Kumar in response to the new targets said that “ services for diagnosing cancer were under immense pressure, which is why increased investment and extra staff were so important”.
Claims for clinical negligence are often brought due to delays in diagnosis of cancer as even short delays in diagnosis could have a detrimental effect on chances of survival.
Moosa- Duke Solicitors welcomes the ambitious new target and looks forward to the improved service for patients across the UK.