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Cancer figues show concerning gulf in treatment times

March 26, 2013 12:55 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP has raisedJim HumeJim Hume concerns about cancer treatment times as figures published today reveal that the NHS failed to meet national waiting times standards for four out of ten cancer types.

The national waiting time standard is that 95 percent of patients should wait no longer than 62 days from the urgent referral with suspicion of cancer to first cancer treatment. On average, 95.8 percent of patients started treatment within the national waiting time. However the figures show a clear disparity in treatment times between those being treated for breast cancer (99.8 percent) and those for urological cancer (92 percent).

Commenting on the figures Mr Hume said:

"The NHS must be congratulated for its continued success in cancer treatment waiting times with the 31 day treatment target once again being exceeded. But these figures also ring alarm bells over a lottery in treatment times in different cancer types. I am concerned that hospitals have failed to meet national waiting times standards for four out of ten cancer types.

"92 percent of patients with urological cancer were treated within the 62-day waiting time from urgent referral with suspicion of cancer to first cancer treatment. When you compare this with 99.8 percent of patients with breast cancer it is clear that a gulf has emerged.

"People need every tool available to be given the best chance to beat cancer. Whilst this may be due to advances in research or better established protocols, health boards must do all that they can to ensure patients suffering from every cancer type are treated within the waiting time target. "