PATIENTS in Barnsley who are referred urgently with suspected cancer by a GP are not being seen at a quick enough rate, as new statistics reveal NHS targets are not being met in the town.

It was hoped 93 per cent of people who were referred urgently by a GP for suspected cancer would wait a maximum of two weeks for their first outpatient appointment - but in Barnsley the figure was under target at 90.74 per cent.

The same target was set for patients who were urgently referred with breast symptoms - where cancer was not initially suspected - would have their first outpatient appointment within 14 days, but this was under target at just 78.81 per cent.

The town is also under-performing in the maximum 31-day wait from diagnosis to first definitive treatment for all cancers, as well as the 31-day wait for subsequent treatment such as surgery.

However Barnsley is above the NHS target of 98 per cent when it comes to the wait for anti-cancer drug regimen and radiotherapy treatments within a month.

A report from Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We have a history of good performance for our registered population and in previous years have reported these targets have been met or nearly met.

“The NHS has seen another incredibly challenging year however, impacted on by the pandemic.

“We have seen some targets met with the number people receiving anti-cancer drugs, or radiotherapy, within 31 days of a diagnosis being above target.

“The reasons some targets were met, and some were not, are many and have varied throughout the year as each wave has emerged, peaked and passed.

“It is important to note that the NHS operated under the highest level of emergency control for much of the year.

“This dictated that many of the services needed to be prioritised, such as treatment for Covid-19 along with tests for cancer and any subsequent treatment, with many non-urgent and routine health care needs assessed and in some cases treatments deferred.

“Where the targets have not been met and people may have waited longer for treatment, everything possible has been done to make sure ensure patient safety.

“Those with the most urgent need have continued to receive the treatment and care that they need.”

Elsewhere, only 71 per centre of patients are admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours of their arrival at A and E, when the target is 95 per cent.

The report added: “The CCG and the local health and care system had a comprehensive recovery and reset plan for 2021/22, which was guided by NHS planning guidance and locally determined priorities.

“The priorities included progressing treatments and diagnostics for those with or suspected of having cancer as well as reducing the wait for those people who need a planned operation/procedure.”