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LNWH dismisses claims it is in breach of waiting times for bowel cancer tests

PUBLISHED: 07:06 26 August 2017

London North West Healthcare NHS Trust have been awarded University status

London North West Healthcare NHS Trust have been awarded University status

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The trust looking after Northwick Park and Central Middlesex hospitals has dismissed claims from a bowel cancer charity that they are in breach of waiting times for endoscopy tests.

Bowel Cancer UK named London North West Healthcare Trust (LNWH) on a list of 15 hospitals in the capital who had breached waiting times in June for tests into the killer disease.

The figures, published by NHS England, said 7.9 per cent of patients had waited six weeks or more for colonoscopy tests - 41 out of 520 patients.

A further 18 out of 200, 9pc, had waited in excess of national targets for flexi-sigmoidoscopy tests.

Lee Martin, chief operating officer at London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, admitted the figures may have been right at the time but two months on they had cleared the backlog. He added: “Despite the large increase in the number of referrals that the Trust is receiving every week, all referrals for two week-waits and urgent bowel cancer tests are undertaken within the national standard.

“This has been achieved through the incredible hard work of staff who are managing a large increase in demand. We have also increased capacity at weekends to ensure all cancer referrals to endoscopy are seen within the national standards and that this is maintained.”

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer despite being treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.

The two key tests to diagnose bowel cancer, known as endoscopy procedures, are colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy – a camera on a thin, flexible cable inserted through the anus to look at different parts of the bowel.

The trust looking after Northwick Park and Central Middlesex hospitals has dismissed claims from a bowel cancer charity that they are in breach of waiting times for endoscopy tests.

Asha Kaur, head of policy & campaigns at Bowel Cancer UK, said: “The figures we have quoted is from the recent published statistics, which have been made publicly available by NHS England. We’re of course delighted that LNWH are reporting that the proportion of patient waiting more than six weeks has since gone down. However we know that demand for endoscopy tests has been increasing dramatically over the last few years - a trend that is set to continue. We’re calling on Government to commit to a workforce action plan to help address these issues. Without this, hospitals will continue to struggle to meet waiting time targets.”

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