By Democrat reporter
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has called for higher priority to be given to cancer treatment in the aftermath of Covid-19.
This follows the publication of new statistics that reveal patients waiting for their first cancer treatment, after a referral, were still not being seen within the Scottish Government’s target time during the first three months of 2020. The 62 day standard means that at least 95% of eligible patients should wait no longer than 62 days from when they are first referred for treatment to when they begin it.
Between January and March 2020, just 84.7% were seen, an improvement of just one per cent on the previous quarter. The NHS was put on an emergency footing on 17 March.
The local health board, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde,has consistently failed to meet the 62 day standard in every quarterly review since December 2016. Over the same period, it was continuously below the Scotland wide average for the percentage of patients that were seen within the 62 day standard.
Jackie Baillie said: “The quarterly figures highlight the extent to which our health service was struggling to deliver cancer services long before Covid-19 impacted treatment. It is completely unacceptable that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has failed to meet Scottish Government targets so consistently.
“The delivery of cancer treatments must now be a top priority for the Scottish Government when creating both short and long term NHS recovery plans. It is a fact that individuals have the best chance of surviving cancer when the disease is caught early and treated quickly. Patients deserve far more than the standard of care they are currently receiving.
“The Health Secretary must listen to patients and staff and take urgent action to recover all cancer services and treatments impacted by Covid-19.”