In response to recent reports, we would like to provide reassurance to all of our patients who have been referred into the Breast service at our hospitals.
We know that waiting for a cancer referral can be a worrying time and we always strive to offer appointments within two weeks. However, in line with the national trend, earlier this year we saw an unprecedented increase in demand for our breast service. This led to some of our patients who had been referred with suspected breast cancer and with urgent breast symptoms having to wait longer than 14 days following their GP referral, for which we are sorry.
All NHS trusts are required to ensure at least 93% of patients referred in with symptoms that might indicate cancer are seen within two weeks of their referral. We have consistently achieved this for all specialities, but unfortunately, this target was not met for our breast referral service between April-July 2019.
Our staff have worked together to create additional capacity to improve the waiting times for our breast patients, including providing extra clinics across our breast units at Derby and Burton. This has been successful and as a result of the dedication of our clinical teams, we are now able to offer patients an appointment at either of our breast clinics in less than two weeks.
Mike Goodwin, Divisional Director of Cancer, Diagnostics and Clinical Support, said: “Whilst only 7.4% of all GP cancer referrals lead to a cancer diagnosis, it’s absolutely imperative that all patients with suspicious symptoms are given the support they need as quickly as possible. We understand that the wait between a GP referral for suspected cancer and an assessment and diagnostic tests can be a very worrying time and we’d like to apologise to all those who had to wait longer than 14 days to be seen, during this period.”