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New figures show level of patients around country waiting for bowel cancer tests

Published on 26 April 2017 back to previous

MORE than 200 people were waiting for bowel cancer tests in Bradford earlier this year, new figures have revealed.

The NHS standard is one per cent of patients waiting for such tests, but in February statistics showed the city exceeded that rate.

In all, there were 24 hospitals across the North of England, according to the latest NHS England figures, that showed nearly 2,000 people countrywide were waiting more than the Government’s set six weeks for tests that could diagnose bowel cancer.

The two key tests to diagnose the disease are colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy – a camera on a thin, flexible cable inserted through the anus to look at different parts of the bowel. Those tests are known as endoscopy procedures.

The figures for February showed there were 82 people on Bradford’s waiting list for flexible sigmoidoscopy and 2.4 per cent of them had been waiting longer than six weeks. There were 184 waiting for colonoscopy appointments which just overshot the 1 per cent standard at 1.1 per cent.

More than 15,900 people die from bowel cancer, the nation’s second biggest cancer killer, every year in the UK.

A spokesman for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Patients are referred for colonoscopy on a number of different pathways. If a patient sees their GP and there is any suspicion of cancer they are referred to us under the two-week rule Fast Track pathway. The Trust has a consistently high performance in meeting the two-week rule for lower gastro-intestinal referrals.

“The 1 per cent target relates to routine referrals. These are defined as referrals where there is no suspicion of cancer. Colonoscopies are also used to diagnose a number of other conditions. For colonoscopies in February 2017 we exceeded this target by two patients and for flexible sigmoidoscopy by two patients.”

Some of the highest percentage of patients waiting more than six weeks for colonoscopy appointments are at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at 21 per cent and North Bristol Hospital Trust at 62 per cent.

This article was sourced from the Telegraph & Argus.

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