Waiting times for people urgently referred and diagnosed with cancer have now surpassed their target for a year. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed the ISD Scotland figures, showing 96 per cent of patients who were urgently referred and subsequently diagnosed with cancer in June-September 2009 were treated within 62 days.
The national target is 95 per cent – and this has now been met each quarter since October- December 2008.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the figures indicated significant, sustained improvement within the NHS, with the comparable figure a year ago standing at 94.6 per cent and 84.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2007.
Ms Sturgeon said:
“These figures show that 96 per cent of people who are urgently referred and go on to be diagnosed with cancer are receiving treatment within two months – against a target of 95 per cent.
“This progress has now been sustained for a whole year and today’s figures show the average wait is 35 days, meaning the majority of patients urgently referred are actually treated within six weeks.
“Staff across the health service worked extremely hard to achieve this milestone for the first time at the end of 2008, and they have continued to work very hard indeed to keep this progress going.
“But we know there’s more to do and are working towards new targets by the end of 2011, including the ambitious goal to start treatment for all cancer patients within 31 days of their decision to treat.”
The Scottish Government’s cancer strategy, Better Cancer Care, introduces two new tougher targets by December 2011:
- 62 days from referral to treatment for any patient urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer or through a national screening programme
- 31 days from decision to treat to treatment for all cancer patients, whatever their route of referral