1,598 cancer patients trust waiting more than two months to start treatment at Royal Devon

12 Jun 2024
Richard Foord and Ed Davey speaking to a nurse

The Liberal Democrats have called for a new legal right for cancer patients to start treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral, as part of a plan to boost survival rates and improve treatment for those affected by the disease.

The latest NHS figures show that, in the last year, over 100,000 cancer patients in England were left waiting more than 62 days to start treatment after an urgent referral.

This includes 1,589 cancer patients at the Royal Devon, an increase of 300% compared to 2015/16. This means only 36% of patients in the area were treated within two months, far below the government’s target of 85%.

Launching the Liberal Democrat election manifesto this week, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has set out the party’s proposals to invest an extra £8.4 billion a year in the NHS and social care.

The Liberal Democrats aim to boost cancer survival rates by increasing the number of radiotherapy machines, cutting the time for new medicines to reach patients, a new cancer research law, and improved support for cancer patients and their families. 

The policy builds on existing proposals from the party on health, including introducing a right to see a GP within a week and expanding NHS dentistry so people aren’t forced to pay for private dental treatment.

Richard Foord, Liberal Democrat candidate for Honiton & Sidmouth, said:

“Right across rural Devon, almost every family know the anguish of seeing their lives turned upside down by cancer. 

“Far too many people across our countryside are waiting far too long for a diagnosis, or to start treatment after being diagnosed.

“We must do right by them and get them the care they need as soon as possible.

“The Liberal Democrats would give cancer patients a new, legal right to treatment within two months of an urgent referral, to make sure they get the timely care they deserve.

“This forms part of our ambitious aim to end unacceptable cancer delays and boost survival rates.”

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