New figures have revealed that hospitals in Lincolnshire failed to meet urgent cancer treatment targets in 2014.
The NHS is required to begin treating 85% of people within 62 days of a GP referral.
However, figures obtained by The Lincolnite from the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) reveal that hospitals in the county failed to meet this target for a number of cancers treatment last year.
Overall, the trust never managed to treat more than 85% of patients within the required time period in 2014.
The best performance was in the first quarter, where 83.9% of patients were seen on time, but this figure continued to drop during the rest of the year, falling to 74.6% by the final quarter.
At no point in the year did Lincolnshire hospitals match performance nationally for cancer treatments combined, which itself was consistently below the target.
Treatment for patients referred for lower gastrointestinal cancer remained under the 85% requirement in all four quarters, dropping to just 49.5% from October to December.
The trust also missed the national requirement for lung cancer referrals from April to June and in the final three months of the year just 55.7% of patients were seen within 62 days.
The final quarter of the year also saw the skin cancer referral target missed. Throughout the year, hospitals in Lincolnshire were below the national average for this cancer, which was 94.6% at its lowest.
However, ULHT exceeded the national targets for breast cancer referrals, with 98.4% of patients treated within 62 days from January to March.
Equally, hospitals in the county were above the national average in all four quarters for starting treatment for patients referred for urological cancers. Despite this, from July until the end of the year, they again failed to meet the 85% requirement.
Michelle Rhodes, Director of Operations at ULHT, said: “United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is fully committed to meeting all NHS constitutional standards.
“Over the past year, we have been in line with the national average performance for breast and urology 62 day cancer target. However, this isn’t consistent in all specialities.
“During this time, the trust had a number of unfilled vacancies for radiologists. The main obstacle to achieving faster results and treatment is this severe shortage of radiologists. This is a national problem, and the trust is working hard to recruit radiologists from other countries.
“We have recently appointed three consultant radiologists who start working for the trust from March and we continue to recruit from aboard. This increase in senior doctors will help us meet targets in the future.
“To make sure as many people as possible are seen quickly, the trust and CCG has worked with other health providers to offer patients a choice of where to be seen.”