Cancer patients at GWH waiting up to 188 days for treatment, as Tories scrap cancer standards - Labour claims

By Jamie Hill - 16 August 2023


Data sourced by the Labour Party through Freedom of Information requests has revealed that patients at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are facing long waits for cancer care.

The data shows -

  • Patients are waiting up to 48 days to see a cancer specialist after their GP has urgently referred them to hospital.  

  • Patients face waits of up to 33 days for their tests or scans and up to 173 days for a diagnosis or to have cancer ruled out. 

  • Some patients are forced to wait 188 days to start cancer treatment. 

Waiting times for cancer patients in England have worsened every year since the Conservatives came to power in 2010. The government is now set to cut two thirds of existing cancer waiting times standards for patients this week. The latest figures revealed that the NHS met none of its cancer targets in June 2023.  


52 out of the 60 NHS trusts that responded to the FOI saw a patient wait more than half a year to start their treatment in 2022. The NHS standard is for 85 per cent of patients to start treatment within two months of an urgent referral, a target that has not been consistently met since early 2014.  


The Labour Party has committed to cut cancer waiting times down to safe levels. The party’s plans to deliver better cancer care include training thousands more doctors and nurses every year, providing NHS staff with up-to-date modern technology, and reforming the health service so it catches cancer earlier. 


Heid Alexander Labour Parliamentary Candidate for South Swindon, said: 


“The Conservatives have created a crisis in cancer care, leaving patients waiting dangerously long for a diagnosis or treatment when their cancer could be spreading. 


“Instead of addressing the problem, Rishi Sunak has now cynically moved the goalposts. The Prime Minister should focus on cutting waiting times, not cutting standards for patients.  


“Labour will get cancer patients diagnosed and treated on time again by training the doctors and nurses the NHS needs, and reforming the service to make it fit for the future.” 

  • All data is for the year 2022 and is from Freedom of Information requests submitted to NHS Trusts in England. 74 Trusts responded to the request, a response rate of 61%. 

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