Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) has continued to turnaround its cancer performance after the latest data has shown the Trust has hit all eight NHS cancer targets simultaneously – the first time in over five years.
Latest Trust data from October 2019 shows that MTW has reached the 85% target for treating cancer patients within 62 days for the third month running as well as maintaining the target for a second consecutive month for seeing patients within 14 days of GP referral.
In addition, MTW has also exceeded six further NHS cancer targets including treating 96% of patients within 31 days of decision to treat, as well as going above and beyond the 90% target for treating patients within 62 days of screenings for cancers such as breast and cervical – hitting almost 96% for October.
The last time all eight targets were met was back in March 2014 and figures from September 2018 showed MTW was treating just 58% of patients within 62 days, but the latest data indicates a radical increase in cancer performance, with MTW now being placed within the top 20% of trusts nationally.
Since last year, the Trust has introduced a raft of changes to improve its cancer waiting times and respond to the rise in demand, including investing in more staff and upskilling more nurses to be able to deliver chemotherapy treatment.
The Trust has also set out to improve diagnostic equipment and facilities; introducing new treatment pathways; and implementing innovative best practice to streamline systems and processes.
Some of the key quality improvements that have made the most impact on speeding up patients’ access to treatment include introducing ‘straight to test’, where a patient referred is initially assessed by a specialist cancer nurse over the telephone to determine the best and most suitable test for their symptoms, rather than waiting to have an face-to-face outpatient appointment.
Chief of Service for Cancer Services, Dr Henry Taylor, said: “Reaching these targets is testament to all of the incredible hard work undertaken by our clinical staff, working alongside an outstanding administrative team, who are dedicated to delivering the best possible care to our patients throughout their cancer journey.
“We are extremely proud of the progress we have made as a team over the last year, with the latest data also showing we have continued to improve since achieving the 62 day target back in August.
“We will now build on the good work we’ve implemented to fulfil our ambition of becoming an outstanding cancer centre, where patients can access world-leading, high quality cancer care and treatment.”
MTW is the fifth largest cancer centre in the country and provides specialist cancer services to around 1.8m people across Kent, Medway and East Sussex. The Trust treats people from two sites based at Maidstone Hospital and Kent and Canterbury Hospital, and also runs outpatient clinics across multiple locations in the region.
Update: All NHS cancer targets were also met for November 2019.