King’s Lynn hospital explains why it’s missing national targets

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Hospital bosses have explained why they are missing a national target on waiting times for cancer patients.

A meeting yesterday heard how the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn, had missed a national target of 85pc of cancer patients to start treatment with 62 days of being referred by a GP.

In May, the most recent figures recorded, the QEH revealed that almost 81pc of patients were referred for treatment.

The fiscal-year-to-date for the 62-day care performance area currently stands at just over 83pc.

Dorothy Hosein, chief executive of the QEH, said: 'In May, the figure was measured at 80.62pc and 3pc of those missed cases were simply beyond our control.'

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She added: 'The 62-day referrals for cancer target is one we still have issues with in terms of us not achieving target. The most important thing is that no patient has come to harm as a result.'

The issue was discussed at the monthly meeting of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital board of directors yesterday.

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Three reasons for missing the target were outlined as: delays at the laboratory which examines patient samples, delays at cancer treatment centres and also internal processes at the QEH could be more efficient.

Patricia Dunmore, the interim chief operation's officer, explained the breaches were being studied in more detail and experts from the Royal Marsden Hospital in London advised the QEH processes just need 'fine tuning'.

Earlier this month, the county's top health officials wrote to all providers and commissioners acknowledging that performance in the 62-day referral in cancer treatment target has been a challenge.

It also outlined the national process for improving cancer waiting times, and outlined eight key priorities.

'Five of those we are already delivering on and three we are in a good position with,' Mrs Hosein told the board.

Any day now, the findings of a recent inspection by Care Quality Commission will reveal if the hospital should be removed from special measures.

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