Publication of the Northern Ireland cancer waiting times statistics release (January - March 2016)

Date published: 30 June 2016

The Department of Health today published the Northern Ireland Cancer Waiting Times Statistics Release for January, February and March 2016.

News

The release gives details of the waiting times for patients accessing cancer services at hospitals in Northern Ireland during January, February and March 2016.

Key facts and figures for NI Cancer Waiting Times for the months of January, February and March 2016 are listed below:

Latest Position (March 2016)

  • In March 2016, 335 patients commenced first treatment for cancer following an urgent referral for suspect cancer. Of these 71.6%, (240) started treatment within 62 days
  • During March 2016, 781 patients commenced their first treatment for cancer following a decision to treat being taken. Of these 746 (95.5%) started treatment within 31 days
  • During March 2016, 1,158 (88.4%) of the 1,310 patients seen by a breast cancer specialist for a first assessment following an urgent referral for suspect breast cancer, were seen within 14 days

Latest Quarter (January - March 2016)

  • The percentage of patients first treated for cancer within 62 days following an urgent GP referral for suspect cancer increased from 66.2% in January 2016 (208 out of 314 patients) to 71.6% in March 2016 (240 out of 335 patients)
  • There was little change in the percentage of patients first treated within 31 days following a decision to treat when comparing January 2016 and March 2016, with 94.7% treated within 31 days in January 2016 (731 of 772 patients) and 95.5% in March 2016 (746 of 781 patients)
  • There was an increase in the percentage of patients first seen within 14 days following an urgent referral for suspect breast cancer, from 71.0% in January 2016 (901 out of 1,269 patients) to 88.4% in March 2016 (1,158 of the 1,310 patients)

Position compared to same month last year (March 2015 to March 2016)

  • In March 2016, 240 of the 335 patients (71.6%) commenced their first treatment within 62 days, compared with 193 of the 267 patients (72.3%) in March 2015
  • In March 2016, 746 out of 781 patients (95.5%) were treated within 31 days of a decision to treat, compared with 716 of the 739 patients (96.9%) treated within 31 days in March 2015
  • The percentage of patients first seen within 14 days following an urgent referral for suspect breast cancer increased from 82.2% in March 2015 (934 out of 1,136), to 88.4% in March 2016 (1,158 out of 1,310)

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) and the Departmental Return SDR 2.

    Figures also include all patients living outside Northern Ireland and privately funded patients seen or treated in Health and Social Care hospitals in Northern Ireland.

    Data include all returns and amendments received from HSC Trusts up to 15 June 2016

  3. Ministerial Target for Cancer Waiting Times

    The 2015/16 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 2015, 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 2015, 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 2015, 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
    • ‚ÄčThese 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.  This information was collated by Hospital Information Branch, DHSSPS.

    Further information is available from:

    Hospital Information Branch,
    Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety,
    Annex 2, Castle Buildings,
    Stormont, BT4 3SQ
    Telephone: 028 90 765725
    E-mail: Statistics@dhsspsni.gov.uk
    Internet: Department of Health

  8. Media enquiries about this press release to DOH Press Office on 9052 0575, or out of hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.  Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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