JUST 44 per cent of patients diagnosed with urological cancers received their first treatment within the national target at a hospital trust.

As World Cancer Day was recognised on Monday last week, latest figures for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust show urological cancers, excluding testicular, are lagging behind the NHS 85 per cent target for patients to receive their first treatment within 62 days from their GP referral in the second quarter of 2018/19.

And urological cancers, which include bladder, kidney, prostate and penile, in the latest recorded month of November 2018 plummeted to 32.14 per cent of patients seen within 62 days.

In the second quarter of 2018/19, the average number of all cancer patients being seen within the timeframe was 76.49 per cent, falling short of the providers across England overall figure of 78.59 per cent, while both failed to hit the national target.

West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which commissions the trust, said Hampshire Hospitals has an “excellent track record” of delivering fast access for patients but is experiencing an increasing demand for cancer services.

A spokesperson added: “We are working with the trust to improve waiting times, including securing additional funds from NHS England to support patients within the urology department.”

However, breast cancer treatment times at Hampshire Hospitals topped the charts at 100 per cent of patients treated within 62 days in the same period. This was followed closely by skin cancer with 99.47 per cent.

Hampshire Hospitals, which runs Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester hospitals, also exceeded the 93 per cent target for patients to be seen by a specialist within two weeks for an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer and surpassed the 31 day measure for 96 per cent of patients to receive treatment from when a decision to treat was made.

Cancer charity Macmillan said it was pleased to see Hampshire Hospitals above the national average for treating certain cancer types, but added improvement for waiting times on all cancers is “extremely important”.

Sinead Parry, Macmillan Cancer Support partnership manager for Wessex, said: “Behind these figures are people waiting anxiously for a diagnosis and treatment, during a period when lives are already being turned upside down, despite the best efforts of NHS staff at hospitals across Hampshire, there is greater demand for their services and increased pressures.”

“If the NHS is to deliver on its ambitious aim of earlier diagnosis and person-centred care for everyone living with cancer, we need a fully costed plan for the NHS workforce across the country to build on the measures in NHS England’s long-term plan.”

Julie Maskery, chief operating officer at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As a trust, we are exceeding national targets for the number of patients being treated within 62 days of diagnosis for some cancer types, including breast and lung cancer.

“Our teams work incredibly hard, as the demand on our services continue to increase, to deliver timely and outstanding care to all our patients and we are looking at ways to ensure patients have the same experience regardless of cancer type.

“In the case of urological cancer which can have complicated routes to diagnosis, we are working closely with our urology team to support them in seeing patients as quickly as possible whilst continuing to provide the same high standards of care, including through the use of additional funding to support the urology department.”