NHS England praises cancer performance in north east London

Thanks to great collaboration and innovation across a wide range of partners over the last year, residents in north east London are benefitting from quicker cancer diagnosis and improved cancer care.

This is reflected in the latest cancer performance results, where all three Trusts in north east London – Barts Health, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Homerton Health Care – have smashed targets for reducing the backlog of patients, bringing it down by nearly 40% over the last year.

North East London Cancer Alliance has also consistently been achieving the Faster Diagnosis Standard since December 2023. The Faster Diagnosis Standard sets a target that at least 75% of people should not wait more than 28 days from referral to finding out whether they have cancer or not.

This work has recently been recognised by the NHS national cancer team, who wrote to North East London Cancer Alliance to say a big thank you.

Dame Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for NHS England and Professor Peter Johnson, National Clinical Cancer Director, said: “Throughout the year you have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to improving services, using your expertise and ability to adapt to what we know will often feel like changing circumstances. 

“Your dedication, hard work, and collaboration have been instrumental in this, and we are very grateful for all you have done. We look forward to continuing our journey together and to achieving even greater success in the future. Thank you once again for your hard work, dedication, and commitment to cancer patients.”

At a national level, the results showed an improving picture too. At the end of March 2024, the NHS met its 2023/24 target to reduce the cancer 62-day backlog (14,916 vs the target of 18,755).  This, and reaching 78.1% FDS in February 2024, means the NHS is now very likely to achieve both national cancer performance ambitions set last year.

A black man with a black suit and white shirt is drawing with a red marker pen on white paper on a table

Femi Odewale, Managing Director of North East London Cancer Alliance, said “The way we are working together as a system is really paying off. We are taking partnership working to new levels and it shows what can be achieved when you take an in-depth look at ways of working and set out improvements in a strategic way.

“I want to thank all our teams across primary care, secondary care, public health, local authorities and community and voluntary organisations for the fantastic work they are doing in supporting our local residents.

“Through hitting these targets, we have achieved a major milestone. However, there is so much more we have planned, and I’m really excited about the year ahead. For example, we are introducing artificial intelligence to speed up cancer diagnosis, we are continuing to expand free lung checks for people aged 55-74 who have ever smoked, and we have a huge focus on cancer prevention and awareness to help improve the health and wellbeing of everyone living in north east London, where we are aiming to close the gap on health inequalities.”

For more information

Read more about our programmes of work across the alliance. 

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