Thousands of UK cancer patients forced to go private

Hundreds of thousands of cancer patients in the UK are being forced to pay for private treatment amid record NHS waiting times, according to data obtained by the Guardian.

The proportion of patients in England waiting less than 62 days from an urgent suspected cancer referral or consultant upgrade to their first definitive treatment for cancer is 65.2%, according to the most recent figures. The target is 85%.

The figures, for November, show that one in 10 people are being denied treatment within 31 days of their cancer being found and a decision being made to treat them. Some 90.1% are seen within this timeframe in England, lower than the 96% NHS target.

Amid growing frustration at NHS waiting lists, record numbers of people are paying for private healthcare. Nearly 300,000 people in the UK have paid for chemotherapy in the last five years, figures provided to the Guardian show.

Full story in The Guardian, 7 February 2024

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