Hospital trusts praised over cancer performance results

Staff at work in the Mile End Early Diagnosis Centre

Staff at work in the Mile End Early Diagnosis Centre - Credit: NHS North East London

An NHS alliance has said it topped national charts for a number of cancer standards.

The North East London (NEL) Cancer Alliance partners with the likes of hospitals, clinical commissioning groups and councils across a number of east London boroughs.

These include Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets.

There are 21 NHS alliances in England and the NEL alliance revealed it was the best performing across six out of ten cancer performance standards in April.

These were in areas that included seeing patients in hospital within two weeks of being referred by a GP in urgent cancer cases and where there were symptoms of breast cancer but not suspected, the alliance said.

Other standards that NEL topped were faster diagnosis in suspected cancer cases and treatment within 31 days for first treatment and subsequent surgery and radiotherapy.

Dr Angela Wong, chief medical officer for the NEL Cancer Alliance, hailed the efforts of the area's NHS trusts - Barts Health NHS Trust, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust and Homerton Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust -  GPs and local partners. 

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Projects like the Mile End Early Diagnosis Centre, which Dr Wong said provides 16,500 extra procedures a year, are having "a positive impact".

“Our clinical diagnostic leads are also instrumental to our success," she added. 

"Their work on the delivery of best practice patient pathways has been a huge team effort.” 

Additional diagnostic equipment has also been put in place at Barking Hospital, which was visited by former health secretary Sajid Javid earlier this year.

Femi Odewale, managing director of the NEL Cancer Alliance, said: “These results show that we are making a big difference to the health and wellbeing of our local residents through helping to spot cancer sooner and providing quicker access to treatment.

"This is an example of what can be achieved by working in collaboration across many different partners and locations."

But he added that "the hard work does not stop here".

"We continue to innovate, finding new ways to diagnose cancer more quickly and improve treatment for cancer patients."