Northern Lincolnshire NHS Trust 'struggling' to meet cancer targets

Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital
Image caption The trust said an increase in patient numbers and outdated diagnostic equipment were to blame

A hospital trust has said it is struggling to meet cancer targets amid claims delays in diagnosis led to the premature deaths of patients.

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust said an increase in patient numbers and outdated diagnostic equipment were to blame.

It comes after the trust apologised to the family of a man who died after delays with his diagnosis.

The trust also apologised to a woman whose treatment was delayed.

Chief executive Peter Reading said: "I want to apologise for the failings in these two cases, this is not the level of care this trust is striving to give to each and every patient.

"It is clear more should have been done to investigate the concerns the families and patients raised and that these should have been acted on earlier.

"These cases date back to 2013 and 2015 and, four years on, we continue to struggle to meet our cancer targets."

The trust said it hoped to make improvements after securing funding for new equipment.

Image caption Mr Norton died after he was diagnosed with stage-four bowel cancer, months after he raised concerns about his symptoms

Speaking before his death in December 2016, Graham Norton, who took drugs for a bowel condition, said he had to wait seven months after raising concerns early in 2015 about symptoms he developed.

He was later diagnosed with stage-four bowel cancer, which had spread to his liver and lungs.

Lawyers for the family said people were dying prematurely due to underfunding, overstretched staff, and poor administration.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said she still had health problems after being initially dismissed by doctors who told her she was "too young" to have bowel cancer when she sought treatment.

Figures show patients starting cancer treatment in North East Lincolnshire within 62 days of urgent GP referral stand at 78.7%, compared to the national average of 81%.

The trust, which runs Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, Scunthorpe General Hospital and Goole and District Hospital, is also in special measures after an inspection last year.

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