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Cancer charity questions NHS England’s claim that waiting times are improving

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p2028 (Published 04 September 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p2028
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. London

Cancer targets have been confused, says Radiotherapy UK, to gloss over a worsening situation, reports Adrian O’Dowd

A UK cancer charity has challenged NHS England over its use of statistics, claiming that official figures have been presented in such a way as to make the NHS’s performance on cancer targets appear better than it is.

The charity Radiotherapy UK, which runs the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign, has raised issues over the presentation of official data on cancer targets that were published earlier this year and is concerned that two different targets have been confused by the media and the public.

In May NHS England issued a press release on the latest waiting times,12 quoting its chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, who welcomed the “great strides” being made by the health service and improvements to long waiting times, urgent and emergency services, and cancer care. The release said, “For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the 62 day cancer backlog fell year on year, with those waiting two months or more down from 21 823 …

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