BOLTON has ranked among the NHS services that are the best at treating cancer patients quickly.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust scored third place out of 131 cancer services in England, measured on the pace of getting those suffering with cancer into treatment.

Hospitals are meant to start treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral by a GP in 85 per cent of all cancer cases.

Bolton saw more than 92 per cent of all cancer cases treated within the 62 day-window, according to BBC figures.

Bolton NHS Trust scored far above the lowest ranked location, with Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells at just 60.8 per cent of cases being treated in 62 days.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust's Chief Operating Officer, Andy Ennis, says that the area has achieved the score in the face of an ever-increasing number of cancer diagnoses.

He said: "I'm really proud of our team. We have been consistent at getting patients treated as quick as we can.

"We have seen a 20 per cent increase in referrals onto the cancer pathway.

"It has been getting harder and harder, but it's a real team effort with clinicians and administrators to make sure the patients get the right information."

Mr Ennis added: "We want to keep it up, we're really pleased and we've been there before.

"We do a lot of work behind the scenes to get the patients in there and get a decision as soon as possible.

"We absolutely get that there are people here, and it will effect the family — it will effect everybody.

"We know from talking to people that 62 days is an awful long time. If you have got cancer, you want the treatment done yesterday.

"We work with families and the patients to keep them informed."

This year saw the opening of a new breast cancer treatment unit at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

The new suite serves women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer and is used for family history clinics, providing patients with results, post surgery and reconstruction consultations and wound care.

Mr Ennis says that the new facility has helped the Trust cope with demand.

He said: "We have opened up the new unit so we have more capacity. That has gone really well."

Mr Ennis says that the trust will have to expand more to meet the increasing number of cancer cases.

He said: "It is about working with commissioners the get the services right and make sure we get enough people recruited. We need enough nurses and consultants to do the job."