Nicola Sturgeon thanks NHS Staff as Cancer Targets Exceeded

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Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has today thanked Scotland’s NHS staff following the publication of cancer waiting times figures by ISD Scotland.

Published today, the figures show that the SNP Government has surpassed its waiting times target for cancer patients ahead of schedule.


Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has today thanked Scotland’s NHS staff following the publication of cancer waiting times figures by ISD Scotland.

Published today, the figures show that the SNP Government has surpassed its waiting times target for cancer patients ahead of schedule.

Between April and June this year, almost 98% of cancer patients received treatment within a month of a decision being made on how to fight their disease with half of those patients being treated within six days or less.

The goal of having 95% of patients begin their treatment within a month of the decision being made to treat them is expected to be met by the end of next year.  In 2009, 100% of children who were urgently referred after being diagnosed with cancer started their treatment within 31 days – up from 97.5% in 2008.

In addition, 99.4% of acute leukaemia patients who were diagnosed in 2009 started treatment within a month – meaning all but one of the 180 people in this group were treated within this time.
 
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the figures showed “great progress” was being made.

Ms Sturgeon said:

“A cancer diagnosis is always frightening. But the good news is more people are surviving longer and the earlier you’re diagnosed and start treatment, the better your outcome is likely to be. These figures represent great progress.

“The previous 62-day cancer target met its 95 per cent goal for the first time in the last three months of 2008, and that was sustained through 2009. In 2010 we now measure against a new 62-day target, which covers all patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer. Boards are expected to meet that by the end of next year, and that has also been met already for the first half of this year.

“We wanted to extend the benefits of the cancer waiting times targets to all cancer patients and that’s what we did by introducing the 31-day goal. Once again our NHS staff have risen to the challenge.

“Cancer affecting a child is particularly difficult for families and it’s critical these young patients start treatment quickly. Every single urgently referred child diagnosed with cancer in Scotland last year began treatment inside a month, as did all but one of the 180 acute leukaemia patients.

“In hospitals and health centres throughout Scotland, NHS staff are working very hard to make sure patients begin high-quality care as quickly as possible. I am very grateful to them, as I’m sure are the thousands of patients they care for.”