NEW CANCER STRATEGY URGENTLY NEEDED, SAYS LOCAL MSP
By Lucy Ashton
Michael Matheson must deliver a new, patient-focused cancer strategy as a matter of urgency, Jackie Baillie said today, as statistics have revealed that patients are waiting over a year for cancer treatment.
Statistics obtained by Scottish Labour have revealed that in 2021/22 a patient with colorectal cancer waited 397 days (13 months) to be treated against the 62-day standard. Waits of more than 100 days were recorded for patients with breast, cervical, head & neck, lung, lymphoma, melanoma and ovarian cancer.
Such long waits are not new with prostate cancer patients, for instance, waiting up to 289 days in 2018/19 against the 62-day standard and more than five times the 31-day standard.
The most recent quarter saw a patient with colorectal cancer waiting 385 days for treatment, whilst a prostate cancer patient waited 311 days against the 62-day standard and 167 days against the 31-day standard.
This comes as statistics published this week have shown that more than 3,000 children and young people in Scotland were diagnosed with cancer between 2012 to 2021 – while survival rates have stalled and waiting times have spiralled.
Scotland is currently awaiting a new Cancer Plan after the latest one expired in March 2023.
Michael Matheson – SNP – Falkirk West Pic – Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Jackie Baillie is demanding that Michael Matheson cut cancer waiting times.
With waiting times spiralling ever longer and the health of patients being put in jeopardy, Jackie Baillie is today demanding that Michael Matheson deliver a new Cancer Plan that is focused on tackling Scotland’s cancer crisis and supports the efforts of hardworking NHS staff.
Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “Whilst Scotland waits on yet another Cancer Plan being unveiled, we have the grotesque and horrifying fact that people are languishing on cancer waiting lists for well over a year.
“This is a national scandal. Cancer remains Scotland’s biggest killer but the SNP has failed time and time again to produce a Cancer Plan that is capable of helping our hardworking clinicians and our NHS tackle the cancer crisis.
“Michael Matheson has a chance to draw a line under the failures and missed opportunities of former SNP Health Ministers.
“That’s why today I am sending a direct message to Michael Matheson – end the neglect of cancer care, bolster our NHS and act to save lives now.”