Government 25% below cancer treatment target as charity says 20,000 deaths a year avoidable

28 Nov 2023
Patient in hospital bed

The latest NHS data has revealed that just 61.3% of cancer patients are starting treatment within 62-days. The government’s target is 85%, which has not been met since 2015.

Cancer patients need to be seen as quickly as possible to give them the best chance of survival but the government’s failure to meet this target is putting people’s lives at risk.

The number of patients not beginning their treatment within 62-days has risen by nearly 1,000 to 17,166, up from 16,168 in the first quarter of the year. That represents a spike of over 6% of patients not starting their treatment within that time frame in just three months.


Man in bed

It comes as Cancer Research UK has said that at least 20,000 cancer deaths a year could be avoided in the UK with further action and the charity also said that the UK lags behind comparable countries for survival.

At every turn the Conservatives have pushed the NHS further into crisis: they’ve failed to recruit enough GPs, failed to recruit the cancer workforce we need and failed to ensure that everyone has access to the treatment they need.

The Liberal Democrats have set out proposals to invest an extra £4 billion in NHS cancer treatment over the next five years to deliver this plan and improve survival rates by the end of the next Parliament.

This plan includes a legal right to be given to all cancer patients to ensure they begin treatment within the 62-days, passing a Cancer Survival Act to ensure funding for research into the cancers with the lowest survival rates, and halting the closure of the National Cancer Research Institute.

Back Our Cancer Care Plan

Liberal Democrats have announced a new five-year plan to boost cancer survival rates.

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