Cancer targets missed by Cambridge trust

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A Cambridge hospital trust has been called to a "formal escalation meeting" after failing to meet cancer patient treatment targets for nine months.

Health regulator Monitor said Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) had not met the 62-day standard for first cancer treatment after urgent referral.

Between April and June it treated 78.1% of patients within 62 days. The national target is 85%.

A CUH spokesman said more oncologists had been recruited to address concerns.

NHS Cambridgeshire has also issued the trust with a £104,000 "contractual penalty" for not achieving the 62-day performance in the first quarter of the year.

'Missed target'

Tom Bennett, CUH director of operations, said: "We've seen enormous increases for our cancer surgery, particularly kidney cancer and bladder cancer.

"It's not that more people are getting cancer, it's that more people are suitable for cancer surgery now."

He added: "We've been recruiting additional surgeons... but we just missed this target. If we could have treated 33 patients in time we would have hit these targets."

Mr Bennett said one new surgeon joined the team last year and three more had been recruited in the last two months.

The trust has been ordered to attend a formal escalation meeting with independent regulator Monitor later this month, to discuss its reasons for breaching the 62-day standard for the third consecutive quarter and its plans to address concerns raised.

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