NEARLY a quarter of patients are failing to receive a vital test for bowel cancer within the target period due to delays at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
The charity Bowel Cancer UK, found that 187 patients – 23 per cent of the total – were waiting more than six weeks for a colonoscopy investigation.
It placed the Trust, which runs the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, as the second worst in the Midlands and East of England.
The two key tests to diagnose bowel cancer are colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy – an internal camera on a thin, flexible cable.
For sigmoidoscopies the Trust performed better, but still had 17 breaches of the six week target, 4.8 per cent of the total.
The charity says that bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer but it shouldn’t be – it’s treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.
Its spokesman Asha Kaur said: “These waiting time figures present a worrying picture for patients and demonstrates the urgent need for the Government to make addressing this crisis a national priority.
“If hospitals are expected to meet waiting time targets then they must be given the resources and capacity to enable them to meet these standards.”
A trust spokesperson said: “We are aware that our waiting times for endoscopy screening procedures are higher than we would wish to achieve as a Trust.
“We have set in place an urgent programme to address the variation against national targets for waiting times.
“This includes the provision of additional clinical activities that we expect will significantly improve waiting times of patients living in Worcestershire.”