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Charity's 'major concern' as cancer waiting list targets are missed again

Targets for cancer patients waiting times have again been missed in Northern Ireland.

Charity Cancer Focus described the growing number of those waiting for treatment as a "major concern".

New statistics from the Department of Health show that every ministerial waiting-list target was missed at the end of the second quarter of 2017.

The ministerial target for diagnostic tests is for 75% of patients to be seen within nine weeks, with no patient to wait more than 26 weeks.

At the end of June, 109,571 patients were waiting for a diagnostic test, with 43.5% waiting longer than nine weeks, an increase from 36.5% at the end of March. None were waiting over 26 weeks.

Roisin Foster, chief executive of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland said: “The continuing failure to meet targets set for cancer patients waiting for treatment is of major concern. In personal terms it brings increased anxiety to newly diagnosed patients and their families.

“We believe that our Health Service is letting these people down at an already worrying time. Our message that early diagnosis and treatment saves lives is being compromised by these very worrying statistics.

“We know that our Health Trusts are already under extreme pressure and ask what support they will be receiving to help them address this worrying situation.”

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