THE trust which runs Colchester Hospital has missed national cancer waiting times but says it urgently saw thousands more people who may have the disease in the last year. 

The East Suffolk and North Essex Trust said there was an 8.7 per cent growth from the year before in patients being seen as having ‘urgent suspected cancers’. 

This equates to 3,700 additional patients. 

NHS England announced that it has met the 28-day faster diagnosis standard nationally for the second month in a row with the standard being 77 per cent – exceeding the national 75 per cent target.

While for ESNEFT for the 28-day target it was 75.3 per cent in February and 74.6 per cent in March.

Gazette: Positive - 3700 more patients were seen for 'urgent suspected cancer' at ESNEFT which covers Colchester HospitalPositive - 3700 more patients were seen for 'urgent suspected cancer' at ESNEFT which covers Colchester Hospital (Image: Newsquest)

In relation to patients waiting longer than 62 days for treatment to start, nationally the figure is the lowest it has been since the end of April 2022 – reducing by almost 20,000 since the post-pandemic peak.

While for ESNEFT their 62-day national waiting times standard was worse than the national standard of 70 per cent being 70.6 per cent in February and 77.1 per cent in March.

In October 2023, the national standards for cancer performance were updated with there now being three core measures for the NHS.

  • The 28-day faster diagnosis standard, for cancers to be diagnosed or ruled out
  • The 31-day decision to treat to treatment standard
  • The 62-day referral to treatment standard - a target for patients to start their treatment within

Nick Hulme, Chief Executive of ESNEFT, said: “We will continue to prioritise cancer care and our teams are working hard to make sure we keep waiting times to a minimum.

“Achieving the national waiting times standards is important to us and we review all patients on our waiting lists on a regular basis."

Mr Hulme added: “Please remember if you have any symptoms or signs of cancer, or something feels or looks different for you, it’s important you contact your GP. If you need to come to hospital for tests, our teams are here to help and support you."