Patients face a potentially fatal 18-month wait for NHS treatment, investigation shows

And 58 had delays of six months or more last year despite hospitals having a 62-day target.

One only got treatment from the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust after 541 days. Another waited 446 days in East Yorkshire.

The average longest wait in 2017 was 213 days, compared to 197 in 2010.

By March hospitals had not met treatment targets for 27 months in a row.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth uncovered the “astonishing” figures with a Freedom of Information request to 95 trusts.

He said: “These delays are appalling. Long waits put lives at risk. It’s not good enough.” Andrew Kaye, of Macmillan Cancer Support, called some of the waits shockingly long.

He added: “Long delays can put people under incredible stress and could mean that health could take a turn for the worse.”

The Department of Health and Social Care said cancer care had improved significantly in recent years.

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