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Health

North Cumbria’s hospitals exceed cancer standards

[N]ational standards for cancer care have been exceeded at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH).

This means that patients are being assessed, diagnosed and are beginning their cancer treatment more quickly at the Trust’s hospitals in Carlisle and Whitehaven.

The three cancer standards, set by NHS England, are:

  • To see a specialist after urgent referral for suspected cancer within two weeks
  • Receive diagnosis to first definitive treatment within 31 days
  • Begin first definitive treatment following urgent GP referral within 62 days

The Trust has performed above the standards in all three areas in December 2017, with nearly 100 per cent of patients receiving first definitive treatment within 31 days of a cancer diagnosis.

The Trust has also recently installed a new LINAC (linear accelerator) machine bringing the latest technology in radiotherapy treatment to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and is one of 15 across the UK to benefit from the NHS England investment as part of a national modernisation programme for cancer.

Plans are in place to transform cancer services in North Cumbria. NCUH is working as part of a ‘Northern Cancer Alliance’, bringing together clinical and local health leaders to further improve cancer pathways and local cancer services.

In July 2017 it was announced there will be between £30-50 million invested in North Cumbria to improve access to chemotherapy and radiotherapy by establishing a new cancer centre, complete with new equipment at the Cumberland Infirmary.  A Full Business Case is currently being drawn up with more detailed plans for the centre.

Dr Sheila Pearson, Trust wide cancer lead at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We know that faster diagnosis and treatment of cancer leads to improved outcomes for patients and this is fantastic news for the people of Cumbria and our communities.

“The new LINAC machine is already beginning to make a different to patients’ lives and the Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy departments have been doing, and are doing, a fantastic job.”

The Trust’s December 2017 figures are as follows:

Indicator Target % Actual %
Cancer 2 week 93 94.8
Cancer 31 day 96 99.1
Cancer 62 day 85 88.81

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