A hospital trust is has met its cancer treatment target for one year.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust (BHRUT) has ensured that more than 85 per cent of its patients started receiving treatment within 62 days of referral from their GP.

The nationwide NHS target has been met by the trust with the help of its investment into cutting edge technology, making the trust one of the most up-to-date cancer treatment centres nationally.

BHRUT has one of the busiest cancer services in the country, with just under 23,000 patients referred to the trust last year – a 10 per cent increase on 2016.

Nationally, the last time the 62 day cancer treatment target was hit was in December 2015 and there has been a slowdown in performance from a number of other trusts.

Dr Sherif Raouf, divisional director for cancer and clinical services, said: “Everyone at the trust can be very proud of this achievement. I’d like to thank them all for their fantastic effort.

“I’d also like to thank GPs across the community for the part they have played.

“There’s a lot more to do, but it’s good to be able to say that we’re moving in the right direction – providing care more quickly, and to a consistently higher standard than ever before.”

The trust has invested heavily in radiotherapy technology in the last year, including the installation of the UK’s first Halcyon machine – a faster, more accurate and more comfortable system of treatment for patients.

Dr Raouf added: “To have the most up-to-date technology is important, but it’s also about the patient experience.

“The Halcyon system is allowing us to offer high quality, high speed, more accurate radiotherapy in a more patient-centred way. As we continue to install new machines this year, we will soon have one of the most up-to-date cancer centres in the NHS.”

The trust has also had one of the highest cancer detection rates nationally, thanks to these new innovations.

Karen Phillips, lead cancer nurse, said: “We’re so proud of this milestone. We know that for any patient who’s referred with suspected cancer, every day can feel like a lifetime and it’s a hugely anxious time. It’s also vitally important that for those patients with cancer, as an early diagnosis can make all the difference in their treatment.

“All our teams – from the first booking clerk, the clinical nurses, the managers and the consultants – are striving at every step to give our patients the best care possible.

“It’s a rare achievement and I’m so pleased we proved we could do it. Now we will keep pushing for the next 12 months and beyond.”