NINE of Scotland’s 14 regional NHS boards have failed to meet a key cancer waiting target, official statistics have shown.
The percentage of patients with suspected cancer starting treatment within 62 days of referral stood at 91.5 per cent in Scotland in the first quarter of this year, a fall from the 94.6 per cent recorded at the end of 2013.
Figures released by the NHS revealed that the national target of treating 95 per cent of suspected cancer patients within 62 days was missed during the quarter ending on March 31 2014.
According to the NHS’s Information Statistics Division (ISD), the 62-day standard was missed in nine areas: NHS Grampian, NHS Highland,
NHS Shertland, NHS Tayside, NHS Western Isles, NHS Fife, NHS Lothian, NHS Forth Valley and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Only five out of 14 NHS boards met the 62-day target. They were: NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Borders, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Orkney.
The fall from 94.6 in December last year to the most recent figure of 91.5 per cent represents the most sizeable drop in the percentage of patients treated within 62 days of urgent referral with the suspicion of cancer since the target was set in 2012.
There has also been a slight drop in the percentage of patients waiting 31 days from the decision to treat, although the NHS remains above target with only three boards failing to reach the required 95 per cent.
Opposition politicians claimed the missed targets were a “disgraceful situation” while the Scottish Government pledged an extra £2.5 million to tackle the problem.