We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

SNP asleep at the wheel on cancer treatment times

March 25, 2014 2:14 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP has accusedJim HumeJim Hume the SNP of falling asleep at the wheel after new health statistics published today showed that a key target for cancer waiting times is still not being met.

It was revealed that the national waiting time standard for 95 percent of patients given an urgent referral with suspicion of cancer to receive their first treatment within 62 days was missed again between October to December 2013. The target has not been met since December 2012.

Mr Hume today also condemned the continued gulf in treatment waiting times for different cancer types, with NHS boards failing to meet waiting time standards for six out of 10 cancer types. The figures published today showed that 98.8 percent of patients referred with suspicion of breast cancer were treated within the waiting time standard, compared to 89.3 percent for those diagnosed with skin cancer.

Mr Hume said:

"The 62-day cancer waiting time target has not been since December 2012. Every time the figures are published we urge the Scottish Government to take action. But we have still seen no dramatic improvement in the target being met. I'm worried that the Scottish Government has fallen asleep at the wheel when it should have been working to improve this months ago with NHS boards.

"It is also worrying that the sizeable gulf in treatment times for different cancer types continues. 89.3 percent of patients referred with suspicion of skin cancer were treated within the 62 wait time compared to 98.8 percent of patients referred with suspicion of breast cancer.

"Whilst may be due to advances in research or better established protocols, the Health Secretary must work with Health Boards to tackle these disparities wherever it is possible to do so. Being referred with suspicion of cancer is a heart-breaking moment for every person and their families. They should not have to face additional worries about a postcode or statistical lottery for different cancer types."