By Bill Heaney
Jackie Baillie has told how cancer patients across West Dunbartonshire are being let down as performance against cancer waiting times targets plummeted to a record low once again in NHS Scotland.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde recorded the worst rate of all health board areas in Scotland against the 62-day cancer treatment target. While nationwide, in the quarter ending 30 September 2022, performance against this standard fell to its worst point on record once again, almost a third of patients (30.9 percent) within the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region waited longer than the target time.
Nationally, more than a quarter of eligible patients faced a wait longer than 62 days.
Performance against this target has been consistently poor, with the SNP failing to meet the target at all since 2012 – however, things have reached crisis point recently, with performance sinking to a new low with every single quarter for the last year.
The 31-day standard, which typically performs better, was also missed this quarter after matching its worst performance on record. Although some health board areas did manage to meet this target, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde was among five regions which failed to do so. The region was second worst performer, to Lanarkshire, against the 31-day standard.
Jackie Baillie branded these atrocious figures “terrifying” and called for a real cancer catch up plan to be rolled out as a priority.
The Dumbarton constituency MSP said: “This is a full-blown disaster and there’s no doubt it will cost lives. People in West Dunbartonshire are being let down as figures for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are the worst in the country against the 62-day target. This is terrifying for those with a cancer diagnosis and their families.
“NHS staff are exhausted and demoralised, and cancer patients are being left to deteriorate.
“The SNP have ignored warning after warning about the ticking time bomb of cancer cases they let pile up during the pandemic, and now we are seeing the consequences.
“We need urgent action if we are going to stand a chance of undoing the damage done by this dangerous negligence.
“We desperately need a real cancer catch-up plan to improve these awful figures, and we need a new Health Secretary to deliver it.”