Nearly 1,000 patients were stuck waiting more than two months for cancer treatment in Shropshire last year, new research shows.
The figures were revealed as Health Secretary Steve Barclay promised to “expedite” meeting MPs in Shropshire at the request of Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan.
A study by the House of Commons Library, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, shows that 997 patients at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals had to wait more than two months for treatment to start in 2022.
This means almost 49% of patients did not receive their first treatment within the target time of 62 days of an urgent GP referral. Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has not hit the target of 85% of patients being treated within two months since 2017.
Nationally, more than 66,000 patients were forced to wait more than two months for their first treatment last year after a referral.
In the House of Commons on Tuesday, North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan questioned the Health Secretary on when he will be meeting Shropshire MPs to discuss the challenges facing the county’s.
In January, Mr Barclay agreed to Helen’s request to discuss the specific issues facing Shropshire but until now his office had not agreed a date.
The Health Secretary has now apologised to the North Shropshire MP and promised to do everything possible to organise the meeting as soon as possible.
North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan said:
“These shocking delays for cancer treatment are indicative of the wider crisis facing the NHS in Shropshire and the huge pressure on our hospitals, GPs, ambulances and carers.
“I’m glad that the Health Secretary has agreed to meet with Shropshire MPs to discuss how he can address the specific problems we face – a large part of which come down to recruitment and retention across all of health and social care.
“The Government has been driving our local health services into the ground and it is patients who are suffering as a result. Shropshire deserves better.
“Delays to cancer diagnoses and treatments are incredibly distressing for those with cancer and those who fear they may have it and must be improved.”