The NHS in Devon is failing to meet national targets on people being treated for cancer within 62 days of an urgent referral.

Councillors at today’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting heard that part of the reason for the failure was an increase in such referrals. The target has been missed for over a year, according to the Winter Pressures Performance report examined today by the committee.

But Devon’s NHS is also failing the national target on urgent referrals within two weeks of suspected cancer, with 89.5 per cent of patients being seen in the timeframe, rather than the national target of 94 per cent.

And the number of people being treated within 18 weeks of a referral is also missing the national target, which is set at 92 per cent. Devon’s position, which is deteriorating, ended March this year at 80.5 per cent of all referrals being seen within the timeframe.

Waits at A&E however, are generally within the timeframe, with the RD&E doing particularly well.

With a bit of probing from me, the committee also heard that around 200 people across Devon are awaiting packages of care on any given day, to enable them to either be discharged from hospital, a care home or remain in their homes.

Some of those people will be discharged from hospital without packages of care, if family or friends are on hand to help.

The picture which is pretty much unchanged over recent years, is largely due to a lack of paid carers available – approximately 50 more are needed to make the system work, councillors heard today from officers.

This is an ongoing seemingly insurmountable problem which is causing hardship to the people needing care and those who look after them.

The recommendation printed on the report was that the report was noted.

I said I disliked a recommendation to note a report where it there were obvious failures and proposed that the committee recorded concern about the areas of concern and that a performance report was seen by the committee on on a bi-annual basis.

This was agreed.

The webcast (and papers) are here – https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/414811