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Cancer patients forced to wait months extra despite ‘urgent’ referrals

23 Nov 2017

Miles Choice Landscape

Cancer patients in every part of the country are being forced to wait months longer for cancer care, despite receiving urgent referrals from doctors.

Research by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed that, this year, a patient in Glasgow even had to wait 315 days for treatment to begin.

That’s the second biggest wait since 2010, and underlines the challenges facing Scotland’s hospitals in the face of staff shortages and dwindling resources.

Under Scottish Government targets, cancer patients urgently referred should begin treatment within 62 days.

However, shadow health secretary Miles Briggs uncovered the longest waits across Scotland through a parliamentary question.

It showed in 2017, as well as the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde patient, someone in the Western Isles waited 275 days.

Other health boards like Forth Valley (209 days), Highland (202 days) and Lanarkshire (195 days) also recorded lengthy individual waits.

The highest since 2010 was five years ago, when a cancer patient was forced to wait 399 days for treatment.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:

“This isn’t just a one-off case of a patient having to wait hundreds of days because of a freak set of circumstances.

“Every year patients across Scotland are facing unacceptable delays for vital treatment.

“If a cancer patient is urgently referred by a doctor, they should not have to wait longer than the 62-day target timeframe.

“If anything, with so much at stake, they should be seen to even more quickly.

“This is just another damning statistic which exposes the SNP’s shambolic running of the NHS.

“If the Scottish Government is serious about helping those who need it most, it would sort this situation out as a matter of urgency.”