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Movember 'increases cancer waiting time breaches'

Cancer awareness campaigns such as the annual ‘Movember’ event are one of the main causes of an increase in the number of hospitals breaching cancer waiting times, the foundation trust regulator has said.

In its performance report for the nine months to the end of December 2013, Monitor found that 18 trusts breached performance against the 62 day wait from GP referral target in the second quarter of 2013. This was an increase from 12 in the first quarter and from just four in the same period of 2012.

The report concluded that campaigns including Movember - an event which involves encouraging men to be financially sponsored and grow moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer - could be one of the reason for the increased level of referrals from GPs to hospital for suspected cancers.

Monitor said: ‘Performance against the “62 day wait from GP referral” target has reached its lowest level in two years, and we are monitoring this deterioration closely. Eighteen trusts breached this performance standard this quarter, an increase from 12 last quarter and compared to just four this time last year.’

‘Reasons given for the breaches vary, but an increased level of referrals is a possible common factor, which may be due to recent awareness campaigns including Movember.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • It isn't rocket science that when you start to criticize GP's for delayed cancer diagnosis the referrals will increase, the campaigns on cough for 3 weeks increased lung cancer diagnosis but increased the chest X-ray referrals sky high and after the haematuria campaign the urology referrals have shot up as more are having PSA check.
    Also dailymail articles on missed cancer diagnosis doesn't help the situation. We all need to improve on early diagnosis of cancer but the secondary care should be ready to manage this "surge" otherwise it may be counterproductive as the ones with cancer are likely to be waiting longer for treatment.

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  • Bob Hodges

    14 days good.

    15 days BAAAAAAAAAD!

    How is not a good thing that more people present and are screened? - an extra few days wait on average won't actually alter outcomes.

    However, these campaigns are even more predictable than the increase in demand that they cause (hint - 'Movember' happens every 'November').

    How about increasing capacity a bit in advance and in expectation.

    It's about patients, not TARGETS for God's sake.

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  • "How about increasing capacity a bit in advance and in expectation"
    Same way we GPs can just up capacity?
    Delay routines to cope?
    Push the wait down the line?
    Once clinical job, now a cynical job and micromanagement of numbers, rather than clinical aspects, of patients

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