Alarming that women from more deprived areas, such as West Dunbartonshire, are less likely to be screened for cervical cancer
By Lucy Ashton
Jackie Baillie has accused the SNP of failing to prevent a “ticking time bomb” of cancer deaths following the pandemic, as cancer survival rates fall.
A new report on cancer survival rates has revealed a shocking 3.6 percentage point fall in survival rates for all cancers when comparing those diagnosed in 2020 with those diagnosed in 2018-19.
The gap is even more stark when comparing those diagnosed at the start of the pandemic with those diagnosed before. Between Quarters 1 and 2 of 2020, the one-year survival rates plummeted by a shocking 13 percentage points for colorectal cancer, 4 percentage points for breast cancer, and 9 percentage points for all cancers.
This came on the same day as a new report on cervical cancer screening reveals stubborn inequalities in the programme, with women from the most deprived areas more than 10 percentage points less likely to participate than those in the least deprived.
New report on cervical cancer screening reveals stubborn inequalities in the programme
Three years on from the pandemic, despite the best efforts of NHS staff, cancer care remains challenging, with performance against both 31 and 62 day waiting time targets both at a record low.
Dumbarton constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie said: “These figures lay bare what we have feared – the cancer time-bomb created during the pandemic is costing lives.
“Cancer remains Scotland’s biggest killer, but the SNP has ignored every warning and failed to support staff and patients by producing an effective plan to get services back on track and help our NHS fight this deadly disease.
“It is also alarming that women from more deprived areas, such as West Dunbartonshire, are less likely to be screened for the likes of cervical cancer, a treatable condition, causing far worse outcomes for them compared to people in more affluent communities. This is shameful and needs urgent action to address.
“Waiting times have soared since the pandemic as Health Secretary Humza Yousaf failed to meet target after target.
“Michael Matheson now has the chance to draw the line under Humza Yousaf’s failures and actually fix this issue – but urgent action is needed.”