Action urged on cancer waiting time ‘gulf’

Urgent action to tackle the growing “gulf” in waiting times for different cancers in Scotland is needed, opposition parties have warned.

Action has been urged to address a growing 'gulf' in waiting times for different types of cancer. Picture: TSPL

• NHS boards found to have failed to meet two-month referral target for 7 out of 10 cancer types

• 95 per cent of patients should be seen inside 62 days, according to national targets

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NHS boards failed to meet the two month target from referral to treatment for 7 out of 10 cancer types, official figures today showed.

95 per cent of patients in Scotland should be seen inside 62 days in line with national targets, but this was as low as 89.3 percent for cervical cancer types and 90.6 per cent for lymphoma, between January and March.

The target was also missed across all cancers in Scotland as it fell to 94.4 per cent.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume said: “This is a depressing picture for patients awaiting cancer treatment.

“It is clear that the gulf in cancer treatment times is continuing to widen. Last quarter we saw that the 62-day standard was not met for four out of ten cancer types. However this quarter the 62 day waiting time standard was not met for seven out of ten cancer types.”

The 89.3 percent figure for cervical cancer compares with 98 percent of breast cancer patients who met the two-month target.

“We need a clearer picture as to why patients with some cancer types are being treated more quickly than patients with other cancer types,” Mr Hume added.

But Scots are still being treated quickly enough after the decision is made to do so, with 97.8 per cent of patients meeting the target for this, although it is down from 98.2 per cent.