Publication of NI Cancer Waiting Times Statistics Release (January - March 2017)

Date published: 29 June 2017

The Department of Health today published the NI Cancer Waiting Times Statistics Release for January, February and March 2017.

Statistical press release

The release gives details of the waiting times for patients accessing cancer services at hospitals during January, February and March 2017.

Key facts and figures are listed below:

Waiting times for first treatment following an urgent GP referral for suspect cancer (62 day target)

  • In March 2017, 339 patients commenced first treatment for cancer following an urgent referral for suspect cancer. Of these 69.0% (234 patients) started treatment within 62 days, compared with 67.1% (253 out of 377 patients) in January 2017. This compares with 71.6% (240 of the 335 patients) in March 2016.

Waiting times for first definitive treatment following a decision to treat (31 day target)

  • During March 2017, 793 patients commenced their first treatment for cancer following a decision to treat being taken. Of these, 94.2% (747) started treatment within 31 days, a small decrease from 94.3% (793 out of 841 patients) in January 2017. This compares with 95.5% (746 of the 781 patients) in March 2016.

Patients first seen following an urgent referral for suspect breast cancer (14 day target)

  • During March 2017, 1,283 (86.0%) of the 1,491 patients seen by a breast cancer specialist for a first assessment following an urgent referral for suspect breast cancer, were seen within 14 days, a decrease from 87.5% (964 out of 1,102 patients) in January 2017. This compares with 88.4% (1,158 out of 1,310 patients) in March 2016.

Referrals for suspect breast cancer

  • In March 2017, 2,112 new referrals for suspect breast cancer were received, this compares to 1,899 in February 2017 and 2,015 in January 2017. Referrals for suspect breast cancer can be for advice, assessment or both.
  • Of those new referrals for suspect breast cancer in March 2017, 1,553 were classified as urgent.

 

Notes to editors: 

  1. All  statistical publications relating to waiting times are available online
  2. About the data

    ​The sources for the data contained in this release are the Cancer Patient Pathway System (CaPPS), the Departmental Return SDR 2 and the Patient Administration System (PAS).

    Figures also include all patients living outside the north of Ireland and privately funded patients seen or treated in Health and Social Care hospitals in the north of Ireland.
    Data include all returns and amendments received from HSC Trusts up to 21st  June 2017.

  3. Ministerial Target for Cancer Waiting Times
    The 2016/17 Ministerial target has three components associated with cancer waiting times:

    The Ministerial Target on waiting times for treatment following an urgent referral for suspect cancer states that, ‘from April 2016, 95% of patients urgently referred with a suspect cancer should begin their treatment within 62 days’.

    The Ministerial Target on waiting times for cancer treatment following a decision to treat states that, ‘from April 2016, at least 98% of patients diagnosed with cancer should receive their first definitive treatment within 31 days of a decision to treat’.

    The Ministerial Target on waiting times for a first assessment with a breast cancer specialist states that, ‘from April 2016, all urgent breast cancer referrals should be seen within 14 days’.

  4. Definition of Waiting Times for Treatment following an urgent referral for Suspect Cancer

    These data relate to patients who received a first definitive treatment for cancer (having been given an ‘International Classification of Diseases 10’ (ICD 10) diagnosis) during each of the three months covered in the publication, following an urgent referral for suspect cancer from a General Practitioner or a routine GP referral that has subsequently been reclassified as urgent by a cancer specialist.  Data for all cancers are included with the exception of basal cell carcinoma.  Referrals from sources other than a GP, routine referrals and patients who have not been given an ICD 10 diagnosis are excluded.

    The completed waiting time is measured from the date an initial urgent GP referral for suspect cancer is received by the Provider HSC Trust and ends on the date the patient receives their first treatment for cancer. Adjustments are made to the completed waiting time in the event of a patient cancelling or self deferring treatment or as a result of suspension for either medical or social reasons.

  5. Definition of Waiting Times for Treatment following a Decision to Treat for cancer

    These data relate to all patients who received a first definitive treatment for cancer (having been given an ICD 10 diagnosis) during each of the three months covered in the publication, irrespective of their source or type of referral.  Data include treatment for all cancers, with the exception of basal cell carcinoma.  Patients that have not been given an ICD 10 diagnosis are excluded.

    The completed waiting time is measured from the date a decision is taken to treat a patient for cancer and ends on the date that the patient receives their first definitive treatment for cancer. The decision to treat is the date on which the patient and the clinician agree the planned treatment. Adjustments are made to the completed waiting time in the event of a patient cancelling or self deferring treatment or as a result of suspension for either medical or social reasons.

  6. Definition of Waiting Times for a First Assessment with a Breast Cancer Specialist

    These data relate to urgent referrals (excluding those that have been reclassified as routine by the breast cancer specialist) and include routine referrals that have subsequently been reclassified as urgent by a breast cancer specialist.

    The completed waiting time is measured from the date an initial breast cancer referral is first received by the Provider HSC Trust, and ends on the date that the patient attends their first outpatient appointment with a breast cancer specialist. Adjustments are made to the completed waiting time in the event of a patient cancelling, self-deferring or failing to attend a first outpatient appointment.

  7. Number of referrals for suspect breast cancer

    Data relate solely to patients who were referred with suspect breast cancer during each month of 2016/17. All sources of referral irrespective of their source of referral are included i.e. urgent and routine referrals from both General Practitioners and other medical professionals. Referrals for suspect breast cancer can be for advice, assessment or both.

    Information on new suspect breast cancer referrals provided by HSC Trusts is not National Statistics but has been validated and quality assured by HSC Trusts prior to publication. Currently the Department is in the process of refining validation processes for these data, which should therefore be treated with caution. However, they have been published to help provide users with some contextual information in relation to the Ministerial Target relating to breast cancer waiting times.

  8. This information was collated by Hospital Information Branch, DoH.
    Further information is available from:

    Hospital Information Branch,
    Department of Health
    Annex 2, Castle Buildings,
    Stormont, BT4 3SQ

    Telephone: 028 90 765725

    E-mail

    Internet

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