More than 1,000 Scots wait 60 days to start cancer treatment

t more than 1,200 patients waited longer than the SNP target of 62 days to begin treatment. Picture: TSPL
t more than 1,200 patients waited longer than the SNP target of 62 days to begin treatment. Picture: TSPL
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More than 1,000 Scots waited longer than they should have for cancer treatment last year, new analysis by Labour suggests.

A review of official data has shown that more than 1,200 patients waited longer than the SNP target of 62 days to begin treatment following an urgent referral on suspicion of cancer.

The analysis also showed that more than 1,000 patients waited longer than a separate 31-day target for the time from a decision to treat cancer until the first treatment.

Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: “These figures are a scandal. It is completely unacceptable that over 1,000 patients waited longer than they were promised for cancer treatment in 2016.

“Performance on the 62-day standard in particular has not been met in three years, yet there appears to be complete inertia from the SNP government.

“Waiting longer for treatment can increase anxiety for patients and their families.

“These figures aren’t dry statistics – they are fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers and sisters across the country not getting the treatment they were promised. Labour has been arguing for years that if your doctor suspects you have cancer, you should expect to see a specialist and get a diagnosis in two weeks.”

Health secretary Shona Robison said more than 95 per cent of patients had met the 31-day target.

She said: “As our population lives longer, more and more people are being diagnosed with cancer. At the current rate, we expect to see a 25 per cent increase in the number of people diagnosed with cancer by 2027. However, due to medical advances and improvements in our NHS, people are much more likely to survive cancer in 2017 than at any point in history.

“All of this together means our cancer services are facing unprecedented demand across Scotland. That is why last month I set out a series of actions we’re taking forward over the next few months to make immediate improvements to capacity within these urological and colorectal services, and reduce the time people wait to be seen.”