FEWER cancer patients in Colchester are beginning treatment on time than in most parts of the country, new figures have revealed.

Department for Health statistics show 73.5 per cent of cancer patients are beginning treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral.

The Government-set target is 85 per cent, meaning the trust which runs Colchester General Hospital is ranked 121st out of 134 trusts in England.

The last time the tough target was met in Colchester was in December 2013.

Figures which detail hospital trusts’ performance in December last year also show 88.5 per cent of patients attending A&E at the Turner Road hospital were treated or admitted within four hours. The Government target is 95 per cent but the England average is just 82.5 per cent.

The last time the ambitious target was met in Colchester was in April 2015.

Some 82.5 per cent of patients were waiting fewer than 18 weeks for planned operations.

That is set against the 92 per cent Government target and an England average of 89.5 per cent.

The Colchester trust ranked 28th out of the 133 trusts which provided figures.

By comparison, 74.2 per cent of A&E patients at Broomfield Hospital, in Chelmsford, are treated or admitted within four hours while 73 per cent of cancer patients referred on by a GP begin treatment within 62 days.