A HOSPITAL trust has said it is "committed" to improving its performance after failing to meet important cancer targets.

Statistics for the Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust, which includes the Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke's Hospital, show that 73.86 per cent of patients received their first cancer treatment within 62 days in January.

That figure stood at 67.81 per cent in February, but the national NHS target is for 85 per cent of patients to be seen within two months.

A spokesperson for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We strive to provide a high quality service for all our patients, working continually to improve our performance and adjust our services to meet the needs of all our patients.

“Meeting cancer targets is important and, clearly, we do not want any of our patients to be kept waiting any longer than necessary and we appreciate the distress this can cause.

“We are committed to improving our performance in this area and would like to reassure people that we track all patients to prevent clinical harm as a result of not beginning treatment within 62 days, and every individual patient’s case is reviewed by a consultant.

“We have implemented a number of pathway improvements to reduce the overall time from referral to diagnosis and we are working closely with all local Trusts to ensure patients requiring specialist cancer treatment are referred as early in their pathway as possible.”

It’s a different picture for patients receiving treatment from the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, where 89.69 per cent of people were seen within 62 days in January and 92 per cent in February.

Stacey Hunter, chief operating officer, said: “Our success is due in large part to our hardworking staff and clinical teams who track individual patient pathways to ensure patients receive the different elements of their cancer treatment in a timely manner.”

Labour has called for a long-term plan to invest in frontline cancer staff.

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow secretary of state for health, said: “This winter hundreds of cancer operations were cancelled despite Tory promises the NHS was better prepared than ever before and thousands of patients are still waiting beyond the target of 62 days for treatment after an urgent GP referral.

“Let’s be clear - years of underfunding and abject failure to invest in the frontline doctors and nurses we need means Theresa May is letting down cancer patients.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We know that the NHS has faced record demand this winter, but it is a fact that the NHS is seeing and treating more people with cancer than ever before. In February around 153,000 people were urgently referred by their GP, over 8,000 more than in the same month last year, and a higher proportion of people were treated within 62 days than in 2017.”