A study published in the British Journal of General Practice reported that in 2014, NHS England took an average of 40 days from first relevant presentation to the GP to diagnose cancer. This comes following publication of the new NHS England diagnosis target of 28 days by the year 2020.
The study included data from 17,000 patients diagnosed with cancer in 2014, and was led by Ruth Swann, Senior Analyst for Public Health England’s (PHE) National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service. On average, GPs took 5 days to refer patients to see a specialist, and the time from referral to being told a diagnosis of cancer exceeded 28 days in 54% of cases.
Delays in referral and diagnosis were most frequently attributed to the patient, primary or secondary care clinician, and system factors.
An NHS England spokeswoman said: “In the three years since these 2014 figures were collected, the NHS has published a national cancer strategy and, thanks to improved NHS care, an extra 2,000 people now survive cancer each year.”