MP probes variation in area’s cancer care

Stephen Phillips MP EMN-150126-121722001
Stephen Phillips MP EMN-150126-121722001

Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Stephen Phillips has challenged NHS England on discrepancies in meeting cancer targets between different parts of Lincolnshire.

During last Wednesday’s session of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr Phillips quizzed NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens on why certain targets were being missed in his own constituency while being exceeded in the nearby constituency of Great Grimsby.

There is a national target of 93 per cent of cancer patients being seen by a specialist within two weeks of an urgent GP referral.

Between July and September last year, Great Grimsby’s two main Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) met this target (with figures of 98.5 per cent and 98.3 per cent) and were in the best-performing 10 per cent of CCGs.

During the same period, the two main CCGs covering Sleaford and North Hykeham (Lincolnshire West and South West Lincolnshire) were within the worst-performing 10 per cent, missing the target with 87.1 per cent each.

Mr Phillips said: “There does seem to be a very large discrepancy between adjacent CCGs in relation to the targets. How on earth can that be?”

Mr Stevens stated that NHS England tracks these variations, and accepted that they were ‘unjustified’ but that there was no single explanation as to why they occurred.

When asked what he was doing about them, he replied that a ‘cancer waiting times task force’ is ‘getting under the skin of each of these variations’ and agreed to investigate the discrepancy.

In a statement released after the meeting, Mr Phillips said: “I hope the NHS England will now investigate why this has occurred and ensure that people wherever they are in Lincolnshire get the same good standard of cancer treatment.”