Rare forms of cancer to be targeted

RARE forms of cancer are to be targeted by health chiefs in west Suffolk, whose treatment of the illness has been deemed amongst the best in the region.

RARE forms of cancer are to be targeted by health chiefs in west Suffolk, whose treatment of the illness has been deemed amongst the best in the region.

Figures released by the Department of Health revealed that between June and October this nearly all cancer patients had been seen by a specialist at West Suffolk Hospital within a fortnight.

Two categories are used to gauge hospital performance. The first is urgent referrals received within 24 hours of a patient seeing their doctor and the second is urgent referrals not received within 24 hours of their GP visit.

The figures show all of the 861 urgent referrals falling under the first category had been seen by specialist within a fortnight, though that number fell to 30 out of 36 patients were seen within a fortnight under the second category - or 83 per cent.

Of all the cancer patients dealt with in the three-month period, just one had a wait lasting more than a month.

The results have been welcomed by managers at the Bury St Edmunds-based hospital trust, who claim some of its systems are so good other trusts are now copying them.

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Pam Evans, lead manager for cancer at the hospital said: “Our performance with cancer waiting times is underpinned by good clinical leadership and an ongoing commitment from the clinical teams to ensure that people with cancer are seen and treated as quickly as possible.

“We have worked in partnership with the local GPs to ensure that those people in whom cancer is suspected are referred to the right place.”