WAITING times for bowel cancer tests at South Warwickshire Foundation Trust are being breached.
According to figures by NHS England, The trust is one of 17 across the Midlands and East of England keeping patients waiting beyond six weeks.
Charity Bowel Cancer UK say the figures show demand for colonoscopy tests – which see a camera used to look at the large intestine – outstrips capacity.
The trust – which runs Warwick, Leamington, Stratford and Shipston hospitals – breached its waiting times by just three patients.
But despite this the trust say it has increased the number of tests being performed to ensure it does not happen again.
A spokeswoman told the Observer: “The trust recognises how important it is for patients to have access to a colonoscopy within the six week standard.
“Although we missed the national target for this diagnostic test for only three patients, we continue to identify where improvements can be made to the service and have increased our endoscopy capacity.
“We are also in the process of recruiting additional medical and nursing staff to help ensure patients are given a timely diagnosis.”
Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer but is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early. Nearly all people survive for five years or more if they are diagnosed at the first stage – but currently only 15 per cent are.
Head of policy at Bowel Cancer UK, Asha Kaur, says the shocking figures show a need to clampdown on waiting times.
She said: “These waiting time figures present a worrying picture for patients and demonstrates the urgent need for the government to make addressing this crisis a national priority. If hospitals are expected to meet waiting time targets then they must be given the resources and capacity to enable them to meet these standards.
“Government must get to grips with tackling this problem. It is crucial urgent progress is made as increasing demand for services is putting hospitals under unprecedented pressure because they simply do not have the capacity to meet this demand.
“Simply ignoring it will not make this crisis go away.”