One in six cancer patients at Wirral University Teaching Hospital have waited longer than two months for treatment, NHS data shows.

The data shows that at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, just 82.1% of cancer patients started treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral in February.

This means 14 patients had waited longer than two months in February and the trust fell below the 85% target which was introduced over a decade ago.

Sara Bainbridge, Macmillan charity's head of policy, said: “This data further illustrates the catastrophic impact of Covid-19 on cancer diagnosis and treatment.

"It’s vital that cancer services continue to be prioritised and that those with cancer are not forgotten.

"To address the extensive challenges that lie ahead, the NHS urgently needs a long-term, fully funded plan for its workforce, ensuring there are more dedicated staff who are able to provide the best care for cancer patients, now and in the future."

A year earlier, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic hit, 85.9% of patients were being seen within the target time.

However, the impact of coronavirus on cancer services means the NHS target has now not been met for nearly three years.

Only 69.7% of patients received cancer treatment within two months of an urgent referral making it the worst performance on record.

A group of MPs, charities and Royal Colleges are calling on the Government to provide urgent funding for cancer services to tackle the Covid-19 induced backlog and "save thousands of lives”.

A declaration, signed by doctors and organisations including Cancer Research UK and the Institute of Cancer Policy, said: "We further urge the Government to recognise that to catch up with the cancer backlog, NHS services need the tools to “super-boost” capacity above pre-pandemic levels.

"This means revisiting aspects of the Budget and Spending Review to ring-fence urgent cancer investment."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said the Government is committed to providing high quality cancer care, with cancer diagnosis and treatment remaining "a top priority" throughout the pandemic.

"More than 2.5 million urgent referrals were made within waiting time targets in the past year alone and for every coronavirus patient, two cancer patients received treatment," they added.