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Wigan is the fastest in providing life-saving cancer care

Wigan Infirmary's cancer care centre
Wigan Infirmary's cancer care centre

Wigan borough has the best overall performance in Greater Manchester for ensuring patients get diagnosed and start treatment for cancer as quickly as possible.

Nationally, all areas are rated against eight indicators for cancer treatment waiting times, set out in the NHS Constitution.

Each of the indicators has a standard that areas are expected to achieve. These include being seen by a specialist within two weeks of being referred for suspected cancer, starting treatment for cancer within 31 days of diagnosis and, starting treatment within 62 days of referral for suspected cancer.

Wigan services met each benchmark last year and got all patients starting cancer within 31 days of being diagnosed.

The borough’s under-75s cancer mortality rate has also seen a big improvement. It was 186.3 per cent in 2001-2013, compared to the England average of 169.4 per cent. In 2013–2015 the local rate had plunged to 146.2 per cent.

Prof Kate Ardern, Wigan Council director for public health, said: "It’s extremely promising to see that we are hitting the national standards for waiting times for cancer patients in Wigan borough.

"Working with all of our partners, including Wigan CCG, we want to ensure residents are getting the best treatment possible, including not having to wait for long periods of time to get an appointment.

"The borough has seen the smoking prevalence percentage decline from 22.7 per cent in 2012, which was worse than the England average, to 17.7 per cent in 2016. This is no longer significantly different from the England average which is really positive. Our reduction has been larger than both England and the North West which again is really positive for our residents.

"Out of our top six CIPFA neighbours (Tameside, Rotherham, Doncaster, St Helens, Wakefield and Bolton) Wigan, alongside St Helens, have the lowest percentage of smoking prevalence in adults."

Dr Tim Dalton, chair of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: "It is really important that local patients get prompt access to high quality cancer treatment. Everyone in the local system from GPs to doctors and nurses at the hospital at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS FT, work hard to achieve this for patients.

"It is reassuring to see that this hard work is making a difference and our patients are getting the best care in Greater Manchester."