Cancer patients and the NHS

Cancer patients and the NHS

By Melanie Wright

The NHS aims to treat at least 85 per cent of cancer patients within 62 days of being urgently referred by their GP for suspected cancer


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Latest NHS figures show that between June and September 2015, just 82.1 per cent of patients were treated within this period, missing the target by nearly 3 per cent.
According to analysis of NHS data of by charity Cancer Research UK, of the 21,629 patients who waited more than 62 days in 2014-15, 42.3 per cent, or more than four in 10 people, were waiting between two weeks and one month after the target time. A further one in four waited for more than a month over the target time.
Emily Maxwell, cancer intelligence analyst at Cancer Research UK, said; “There are lots of possible reasons behind these frustrating delays. There are huge pressures on the NHS. We know that lots of people are waiting for cancer tests, like scans or endoscopies, who don’t yet have a cancer diagnosis, but have been referred by their GP.”
Many people take out private medical insurance so that they don’t have to wait for treatment or diagnosis at what is already likely to be a stressful time. This type of cover is often provided for employers, so check if yours offers it. If it doesn’t then you can take out cover independently, but always shop around as premiums and cover limits can vary widely depending on which provider you go to.
Basic policies will cover the cost of private treatment for acute conditions, while others will include access to specialist therapies. Some policies will exclude outpatient charges, while others will include these as well as hospital admission costs. All policies will have some exclusions, which usually include things like dental treatment, normal pregnancy and infertility treatment, so make sure you read the small print carefully.
Most insurers also won’t provide cover for pre-existing conditions either, so check before you sign up.
Bear in mind that private medical insurance premiums will be higher the older you are. This is because you are more likely to need treatment when you are older, so your premiums will rise gradually each year. You can however, often get discounts if you pay for a year up-front rather than paying premiums monthly.


 Radio Times has teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you affordable, private health insurance. Get £50 FREE M&S vouchers free when you take out a plan


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