Cancer waiting times in Brighton and Hove among worst in the country

Josh Munns, who was running a stall for Macmillan in Brighton station
Josh Munns, who was running a stall for Macmillan in Brighton station

Cancer patients in Brighton and Sussex face some of the worst waiting times in the country for treatment, according to NHS England.

Government targets aim for trusts to provide cancer care within 62 days of urgent GP referral to 85 per cent of all patients. As of March 2019, just 73 per cent are being seen within this time frame.

Of the 131 NHS trusts that provide cancer treatment, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust ranked 110th.

NHS waiting times for cancer patients across the country have worsened over the past five years.

From 2013-14, 92 services met or exceeded their targets for treating cancer patients; NHS England figures for 2018-19 show that just 37 services met the same targets.

The release of these figures coincided with a fundraising event by Macmillan Cancer Support in Brighton last Thursday.

Around 150 volunteers took to the streets to raise support and awareness for those fighting cancer, with stalls set up in Churchill Square and Barclays bank.

Josh Munns, who was running a stall for Macmillan in Brighton station, emphasised the ongoing need for resources and treatment in helping people fight cancer.

He said: “Cancer is an issue that will affect one in two people at some point during their lives.

“I think that historically people have avoided the ‘C-word’, but these days everyone’s much more open in talking about it.

“Ultimately people are still getting sick, and they still need care and treatment.”

Responding to the national figures, Dr Moira Fraser-Pearce, director of policy and campaigns at Macmillan Cancer Support, said they indicated the human cost of chronic under investment in the NHS.

She said: “These consistently missed targets for cancer waiting times are indicative of the overstretched NHS workforce, which is struggling to cope faced with increasing patient need and unreasonable workloads.”

Anyone seeking information or support in dealing with cancer can contact Macmillan on 0808 8080 00 00, or visit macmillan.org.uk.