Health written question – answered on 6th December 2012.

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Photo of David Ruffley David Ruffley Conservative, Bury St Edmunds

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the current average waiting time is for cancer treatments in (a) Suffolk Primary Care Trust and (b) England and Wales.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Statistics on average waiting times for cancer treatment are not collected centrally. The cancer waiting time standard of a maximum wait of two months (62 days) from urgent referral for suspected cancer to first cancer treatment was introduced for all patients in England from December 2005. Statistics showing overall performance are published on a quarterly basis on the Department's website at:

Performance against this standard for the last period for which figures are available (July, August and September 2012) show the following performance levels for Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) and England.

Organisation Total treated for cancer following urgent referral for suspected cancer Number treated within two months (62-days) Percentage performance Operational standard(3) (percentage)
Suffolk PCT(1) 415 342 82.4 85
England(2) 30,310 26,454 87.3
(1) The PCT figure is drawn from the quarterly commissioner based official statistics on cancer waiting times, which are derived from patient records submitted by NHS providers. (2) The England figure relates to ‘all English providers’ and is drawn from the quarterly provider based national statistics on cancer waiting times, the most complete assessment of performance available to the Department of Health. (3) As with all monitored waiting times, 100% achievement is not possible and therefore not expected from the NHS. The Department has published “operational standards” that identify an expected level of performance based on case mix, clinical requirements, potential levels of patients unfit for treatment and patient choice.

The Department does not hold or publish statistics on cancer waiting times for Welsh national health service organisations.

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