Cllr William McCandless
ONLY 11.9 per cent of urgent breast cancer referrals in the Northern Trust were seen within a fortnight during September with one recent patient having to wait 44 days, new figures have shown.
Voicing concern over the statistics, Councillor William McCandless told The Chronicle: “When you are aware of a deterioration in service in an area as critical as this you wonder if highlighting it could cause concern among patients.
“However the current situation regarding breast cancer referral has become critically serious.
“Figures for 2018 chart a serious decline. In April 100% of urgent referrals in the Trust were seen within 14 days but since the figures have seriously declined - May (84%); July (59%); August (19%) and in September this figure reduced to 11.9%. Meanwhile the longest waiting time for a patient was 44 days.”
He added: “We are all aware of how cruel and devastating a disease cancer is and it will certainly thrive during any avoidable delay in treatment. It is also extremely unfair to those patients who are waiting for answers to have it prolonged.
“Targets are set for cancer treatment as there is empirical evidence that the longer patients wait for treatment, then the greater risk to them."
*For full story see this week's paper.