The Department of Health today published the NI Cancer Waiting Times Statistics Release for October, November and December 2021.

The release gives details of the waiting times for patients accessing cancer services at hospitals during October, November and December 2021.

A new interactive HTML format of this publication will be released alongside the traditional pdf report. Any feedback on this new format is welcome, please contact Statistics@health-ni.gov.uk

Key facts and figures are listed below:

Waiting times for first treatment following an urgent GP referral for suspect cancer (62 day target)

In December 2021, 374 patients commenced their first treatment for cancer following an urgent referral for suspect cancer. Of these, 43.0% (161 patients) started treatment within 62 days, compared with 41.6% (188 of the 452 patients) in November, 45.1% (186 of the 412 patients) in October and 55.3% (184 of the 333 patients) in December 2020.

Waiting times for first definitive treatment following a decision to treat (31 day target)

During December 2021, 819 patients commenced their first treatment for cancer following a decision to treat being taken. Of these, 92.1% (754) started treatment within 31 days, compared with 89.5% (861 of the 962 patients) in November, 90.5% (787 of the 870 patients) in October and 93.4% (740 of the 792 patients) in December 2020.

Patients first seen following an urgent referral for suspect breast cancer (14 day target)

During December 2021, 1,298 patients were seen by a breast cancer specialist for a first assessment following an urgent referral for suspect breast cancer. Of these, 43.1% (559) were seen within 14 days, compared with 38.1% (486 of the 1,277 patients) in November, 49.2% (664 of the 1,349 patients) in October and 62.2% (933 of the 1,499 patients) in December 2020.

Referrals for suspect breast cancer

In December 2021, 1,760 new referrals for suspect breast cancer were received; this compares to 2,177 in November, 2,461 in October and 1,848 in December 2020. Referrals for suspect breast cancer can be for advice, assessment or both.

Of those new referrals for suspect breast cancer in December 2021, 1,155 (65.6%) were classified as urgent.