Cumbrian MP Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats are calling for a new legal right for cancer patients to start treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral, as part of a plan to boost survival rates and improve treatment for those affected by the disease.
It comes after shocking new figures from the NHS revealed that almost one in two cancer patients in North Cumbria last year waited more than 62 days to start treatment after being referred.
Only 507 out of the 998 (50.80%) cancer patients received their first treatment within two months, well below the government target of 85%.
Meanwhile in the Morecambe Bay area, 435 cancer patients waited more than 62 days to start treatment.
This means only 64% of patients in the area were treated within two months.
The Liberal Democrat plan includes new radiotherapy machines, cutting the time for new medicines to reach patients, a new cancer research law, and better support for cancer patients and their families.
The new policy builds on existing proposals from the party on health such as introducing a right to see a GP within a week and expanding NHS dentistry so people aren’t forced to pay for private dental treatment.
Tim said: “Everyone knows someone whose life has been turned upside down by cancer.
“Far too many people are still waiting, far too long for a diagnosis, or to start treatment after being diagnosed. We must do right by them and get them the care they need when they need it.
“The Liberal Democrats would give cancer patients a new legal right to treatment within two months of an urgent referral, to make sure they get the care they deserve.
“This forms part of our ambitious plan to end unacceptable cancer delays and boost survival rates.”