NHS data reveals cancer wait times
A doctor and patient discussing a diagnosis.

Almost 200,000 (77 per cent) people referred or screened received a definitive diagnosis or the all clear within four weeks, new NHS figures have revealed.

The NHS' aim was 75 per cent.

This follows targeted national support for NHS trusts to reduce variation across the country, and initiatives like faecal immunochemical tests (FIT) to speed up diagnosis for patients with bowel cancer.

The number of patients waiting longer than 62 days is now the lowest it has been since the end of April 2020, reducing by almost 20,000 patients since the post-pandemic peak.

The NHS also said they have been focused on bringing down the covid backlog of patients waiting for diagnosis or treatment that built up over the pandemic.

March saw the NHS deliver the highest number of urgent cancer appointments on record with more than 12,500 patients seen every day – more than a quarter of a million over the month.

This is a third (33 per cent) more referrals than the NHS was seeing before the pandemic – the equivalent of 3,000 more patients per day.

Cancer treatment activity was also at its highest ever level with over 1,400 patients starting cancer treatment every day.

Dame Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for NHS England, said: “These figures show the NHS has made significant progress tackling the longest waits for patients with cancer, which has been achieved against a backdrop of record referrals for suspected cancer.

“It also shows our progress is sustainable, as we exceeded our ambitions for the number of people diagnosed or given the all-clear within 28 days for the second month in a row."

Also, ambulance response times were faster in every category last month, with the most urgent cases 10 seconds faster than the month before, and the fastest since April last year.

Category 2 calls were responded to almost three and a half minutes faster in April than March, and were faster than each of the ten months before that.