Ambitious £100m plan to improve cancer care

Health Secretary Shona Robison has announced a new strategy to tackle cancer Picture: John Devlin

Health Secretary Shona Robison has announced a new strategy to tackle cancer Picture: John Devlin

Share this article
0
Have your say

A £100 million strategy setting out services to provide cancer care in Scotland over the next five to 10 years has been announced by the Health Secretary.

The plan unveiled by Shona Robison contains more than 50 actions to tackle the disease by improving prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and after care.

It includes £50 million for radiotherapy equipment and to support recruitment and training, an additional £10 million to support swift access to diagnostics for people with suspected cancer, and £5 million to support waiting times performance.

The Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action strategy was launched during an event in Edinburgh with Cancer Research UK.

Also covered is £9 million over five years to ensure better support for people with cancer and their families, £5 million to target reducing inequalities in screening uptake, £7.5 million to support improvements in surgical treatments, and £3.5 million to drive improvements across the palliative care sector.

Ms Robison said the strategy will serve as a blueprint for the future of cancer services in Scotland.

“Cancer services have come a long way over the past 10 years, with cancer mortality rates down 11 per cent, however we know more needs to be done,” she said.

“Through this strategy we are aiming to reduce health inequalities and improve the experience of and outcomes for people with cancer across Scotland.

“This strategy sets out our actions on detecting cancer early, with a particular focus on reducing inequalities in screening. It also sets out how we will invest in the provision of good quality, sustainable treatment and support for people to live well with and beyond cancer.”

Gregor McNie, of Cancer Research UK, said the commitments outlined are “good news for patients” and will be closely monitored “to make sure they become a reality”.

He added: “Scotland’s cancer survival still lags behind its UK and European neighbours and this strategy sets out strong ambitions and investment to help tackle this.

“The continued focus on early diagnosis is vital - funds to make sure all patients get the diagnostic tests they need should ensure they are treated without delay.

“New money for radiotherapy, including expansion of the workforce, will address the unfulfilled potential of Scotland’s world-class equipment, so that no patient misses out on effective treatment.

“But as more people get cancer, we need action to prevent the disease and brave new measures will be needed over the coming years.”

Janice Preston, head of Macmillan Cancer Support in Scotland, said: “We are particularly pleased to see a £9 million fund has been set aside to fund support services modelled on Macmillan’s Improving the Cancer Journey project. We hope to see the huge success of this project replicated across Scotland to make sure no cancer patient in Scotland misses out on vital support.”

READ MORE: Hula-hoop injury pain turned out to be breast cancer

Scottish Labour equality spokeswoman Jenny Marra said: “Labour welcomes action on cancer from the Scottish Government, but this plan has been delayed by over a year and comes 10 months after England’s cancer plan was published. Patients up and down Scotland will be wondering what has taken the SNP so long.

“The facts show that the performance of the SNP Government on cancer simply has not been good enough. We have seen declining performance on cancer waiting times, worrying trends in screening and diagnosis, especially in poorer areas.

“Whilst we welcome many of the initiatives in this report, there is little here to address the underlying issues of public health, and health inequalities, both of which are directly linked to cancer.”

Kate Morgan, policy and public affairs manager at Myeloma UK, said: “Whilst a new strategy is timely, we are disappointed with the lack of public consultation that has taken place and on the absence of detail on rarer cancers, such as myeloma, which face a unique set of challenges such as having to present at a GP more than three times prior to diagnosis.

“There are clear areas of ambition in the strategy, however, it is a fairly high-level document with limited detail on how success will be measured.”

Scottish Labour equality spokeswoman Jenny Marra said: “Labour welcomes action on cancer from the Scottish Government, but this plan has been delayed by over a year and comes 10 months after England’s cancer plan was published. Patients up and down Scotland will be wondering what has taken the SNP so long.

“The facts show that the performance of the SNP Government on cancer simply has not been good enough. We have seen declining performance on cancer waiting times, worrying trends in screening and diagnosis, especially in poorer areas.

“Whilst we welcome many of the initiatives in this report, there is little here to address the underlying issues of public health, and health inequalities, both of which are directly linked to cancer.”

Kate Morgan, policy and public affairs manager at Myeloma UK, said: “Whilst a new strategy is timely, we are disappointed with the lack of public consultation that has taken place and on the absence of detail on rarer cancers, such as myeloma, which face a unique set of challenges such as having to present at a GP more than three times prior to diagnosis.

“There are clear areas of ambition in the strategy, however, it is a fairly high-level document with limited detail on how success will be measured.”

Back to the top of the page