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Health and Social Care

Volume 736: debated on Thursday 20 July 2023

Cancer Waiting Times and Outcomes

The following is an extract from Health and Social Care questions on 6 June 2023.

In May last year I wrote to the then Health Secretary and the Prime Minister about the case of a young man in my constituency, Elliott Simpson, who was misdiagnosed with a water wart in a telephone consultation with a GP. When Elliott was finally able to see someone face-to-face, he found that he had late-stage skin cancer. He passed away on 28 April, aged just 27.

Between January and March this year, both the two-week wait target and the 62-day target were missed at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. Does the Secretary of State accept that delays are costing lives?

The whole House will be hugely saddened to learn of the passing of Elliott, especially at such a tender age.

The hon. Lady is right to highlight the importance of speedy diagnosis, and I was pleased that we met the faster diagnosis standard in February for the first time and again in March, with three in four patients receiving their diagnosis within two weeks and nine in 10 starting treatment within a month. She is also right to point out that there is still variation between trusts, and we are focusing on that in particular, but it is good that nationally we are hitting the faster diagnosis standard.

[Official Report, 6 June 2023, Vol. 733, c. 664.]

Letter of correction from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the right hon. Member for North East Cambridgeshire (Steve Barclay):

Errors have been identified in my response to the hon. Member for Blackburn (Kate Hollern).

The correct information should have been:

The whole House will be hugely saddened to learn of the passing of Elliott, especially at such a tender age.

The hon. Lady is right to highlight the importance of speedy diagnosis, and I was pleased that we met the faster diagnosis standard in February for the first time, with three in four patients receiving their diagnosis within 28 days and nine in 10 starting treatment within a month, and virtually met it in March. She is also right to point out that there is still variation between trusts, and we are focusing on that in particular, but it is good that nationally we are hitting the faster diagnosis standard.