Former health secretary praises Tower Hamlets for its improved cancer treatment waiting times

Jeremy Hunt is the former health seceretary. Pic: PA

Jeremy Hunt is the former health seceretary. Pic: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Tower Hamlets has been praised by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt for its “impressive improvement” in cancer treatment waiting times.

However one in 10 patients in the borough are still not starting treatment within two months of being referred, a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) report shows.

Targets set by the government state no one should wait more than 62 days to begin treatment after a hospital receives an urgent referral for suspected cancer.

Between January and March this year 89 per cent of cancer patients in Tower Hamlets were receiving treatment in this timeframe.

This was compared to just 78 per cent in the three months previously.

Mr Hunt, who was replaced by Matt Hancock on July 9 after being offered the foreign secretary job, described the rise as an “achievement to be proud of” in a letter to the chair of Tower Hamlets CCG chair Doctor Sam Everington.

“The CCG is a real example to others, demonstrating how to improve performance in a short space of time and ensure that your patients get the care that they deserve,” he said.

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“I know that the immense amount of work that will have been behind this outcome cannot be underestimated.

“Improvement on such a scale is very impressive and testament to the hard work and dedication of the CCG’s staff.”

A Tower Hamlets CCG report, published yesterday, stated: “Cancer care in Tower Hamlets is improving [with] 89.1 per cent of people starting recommended care within 62 days of referral.

“This is the second highest performance in comparison with similar CCGs.

“There has also been improvement in terms of cancers diagnosed at an early stage and one year survival rates.”