Covid Scotland: NHS boards get £10m to improve cancer waiting times

Scottish NHS boards will receive £10 million to improve cancer waiting times, the health secretary has announced.

Humza Yousaf said the money would go towards staff skills, more diagnostic tests and increased working hours.

He visited one of Scotland’s first early cancer diagnostic centres in Fife on Monday.

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Covid pandemic backlog will see more lives lost to cancer, says charity
Health secretary Humza Yousaf (right) looks on as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks. Picture: PA

The centre, one of three currently in place around Scotland, allows GPs to refer patients with non-specific cancer symptoms onto fast-track diagnostic programmes.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a backlog in cancer care.

Mr Yousaf said: “Limiting the impact of Covid-19 on cancer patients has been a top priority in all of our planning, with the majority of vital cancer treatments continuing throughout the pandemic.

“Our commitment to finding and treating cancer as early as possible has never been greater.

“The establishment of Scotland’s first three early cancer diagnostic centres demonstrates this.

“We had pledged to open three centres within the first 100 days of this government, so I’m delighted to say we’ve delivered on that commitment.

“This £10m will enable boards to further recover and redesign cancer services for patients across Scotland and drive improvements in waiting times.”

MacMillan cancer support has already warned the backlog in screening and treatment will see more lives lost in Scotland to treatable cancers, with the impact of delayed diagnosis to “go on for years”.

There are thought to be 7,000 “missing” or undiagnosed cancer cases in Scotland.

Opposition parties have repeatedly called on the Scottish Government to take more action to tackle the Covid backlog.


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