By Connor Boyd For Mailonline
Published: 12:45 BST, 4 September 2019 | Updated: 13:15 BST, 4 September 2019
More than a third of cancer patients are still having to go to their GP at least twice before being sent to hospital for tests, a damning report has revealed.
The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey found a small number of patients (six per cent) saw their doctor five or more times before being referred.
The picture is made bleaker by the fact those numbers were exactly the same a year ago, meaning there have been no signs of improvement.
More than a third of cancer patients are still having to go to their GP at least twice before being sent to hospital for tests (file image)
Cancer survival rates in Britain lag behind those in Europe and the US, which experts say is primarily due to slow diagnosis.
Studies suggest 10,000 deaths could be prevented each year if the UK merely hit the European average for five-year survival.
The survey, compiled by NHS England and completed by 70,000 patients, found 32 per cent of patients saw their GP at least twice before being referred.
Of those, 11 per cent went at least three or four times, while six per cent had to go five or more times. The remainder went at least twice.
NHS figures revealed that patients are now more likely to wait more than two weeks to see a consultant than at any other time on record.
At least 93 per cent of people should be seen by a cancer specialist within two weeks of being urgently referred by their GP, the NHS says.
But in April 2019 that figure was just 89.9 per cent, dropping below 90 per cent for the first time since stats began in 2009.
A record high of 19,963