Nearly nine in 10 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are failing cancer patients, according to data from NHS England.
The ratings reveal that, of the 209 CCGs in England, only 14% are considered to be providing good quality cancer care.
The assessments were based on CCG performance in four areas including, early diagnosis, one-year survival, 62 day waits after referral, and overall patient experience.
The data, available at My NHS, found that seven CCGs were ‘top performing’, while 22 were rated as ‘performing well’.
However, 156 CCGs were rated as ‘requires improvement’ and 24 were said to be in the ‘greatest need of improvement’.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, called for the inspections in 2015 after figures revealed the UK to have the worst cancer survival rate in western Europe.
At the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Hunt said the Ofstead-style CCG ratings “don’t make comfortable reading”.
However, he added that the data transparency will allow people to “see our commitment to build a safer NHS doing more than ever to fight cancer”.
Hunt said that since 2010, the NHS is doing 16,000 more diagnostic tests, starting cancer treatment for 130 more people everyday. But he said this “still isn’t enough”.
“Our new cancer plan will introduce a maximum 4 week wait from GP referral to diagnosis; bring in Ofsted-style cancer ratings for CCGs; do more molecular diagnostics and immunotherapy and save an estimated 30,000 lives a year,” he said.
Commenting on the CCG ratings released the same day, Dr Fran Woodard, executive director of policy and impact at Macmillan Cancer Support, said the low number of CCGs providing adequate cancer care is “very concerning”.
She said: “It highlights just how much the NHS is struggling to meet the challenge of delivering cancer services which meet all the critical needs of people with cancer.
“The Cancer Strategy for England clearly shows how the NHS needs to address the significant improvements we all know need to happen urgently.
“The system simply must be set up to care for people with cancer now and in the future.
“That’s why we desperately need the government to provide the funding, tools and workforce to deliver the improvements the strategy clearly recommends.”
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