POSTED: March 10 2017
Missed NHS cancer targets likely to increase demand for PMI

Missed NHS cancer targets likely to increase demand for PMI

Pressure on the NHS to deliver on cancer targets is likely to increase demand by employees for Private Medical insurance (PMI).PMI is a popular staff benefit and with increased press coverage on the delivery of cancer care a good quality medical insurance is an important part of an employee benefits package.

A recent survey by Risk Insurer Ellipse found that Staff had voted Private Medical insurance as the most valued employee benefit.

The most recent focus on missed cancer targets has been highlighted by charity, Macmillan, who have revealed that the NHS has missed cancer treatment targets for three years.

Macmillan Cancer Support says this “‘dismal anniversary’ is yet another sign of pressure on the NHS”

Macmillan confirms that more cancer patients in England are facing delays for their treatment than three years ago, with 1 in 6 (17%) now waiting beyond the official NHS target*, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Analysis by the charity of NHS cancer waiting times data, reveals that:

  • Over the past three years, the number of people waiting longer than 62 days has risen steadily (year-on-year rise) from 20,534 in 2014 to 25,157 in 2016.
  • This marks three years since performance against the target stopped keeping pace with the increase in referrals for cancer. The number of people being urgently referred for cancer has increased steadily year-on-year**. Until January 2014, the NHS was able to consistently keep pace with demand and the 62-day target was almost always met.
  • The number of patients waiting too long for treatment in 2016 has almost doubled in the past five years***. In total, more than 100,000 people have waited beyond the NHS’ target of 62 days in this time.

Macmillan says treatment delays and cancelled operations are evidence of a system under pressure and a struggling cancer workforce.

Dr Fran Woodard, Executive Director of Policy and Impact at Macmillan Cancer Support, says: “This dismal “anniversary” of breached cancer waiting times is yet another sign of pressure on the NHS. Everyone is suffering. Patients are waiting too long for treatment and it’s leaving them anxious and depressed. Many healthcare professionals are feeling overstretched with their morale on the floor.

You can read the full Macmillan press release here.


* Refers to the 62-day cancer waiting times target. NHS England. Cancer waiting times – National Time Series Oct 2009 – December 2016 (Provider based) (Accessed February 2017)

** As reference i. The number of people referred through the urgent two-week-wait referral pathway has increased at a steady rate since at least 2010:

  • 2010: 974,922
  • 2011: 1,066,925
  • 2012: 1,204,703
  • 2013: 1,302,835
  • 2014: 1,500,336
  • 2015: 1,680,747
  • 2016: 1,831,730

*** The total number of people who waited for more than 62 days was 1.8 times greater in 2016 compared with 2011 (25,157 compared with 14,201)

More information on the work undertaken by Macmillan can be found here.