Good news for Scottish cancer waiting times

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Waiting times for patients with cancer have been met and exceeded early according to the latest official figures.

The Scottish government said the large majority of cancer patients in Scotland now begin treatment within two months of an urgent referral.

From July to September, 96.7% of patients referred on suspicion of having cancer began their first treatment within 62 days of urgent referral – an increase in 1.1% over the previous three months.

Morover, 97.9% of patients began receiving medical support within 31 days of a decision to treat them being taken.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Cancer waiting times in Scotland continue to beat targets ahead of schedule, with 96.7% of patients starting treatment within 62 days of urgent referral with a suspicion of cancer and 97.9% of patients starting treatment within 31 days of decision to treat, both against a target of 95%.

“We will continue to closely monitor boards’ performance against these targets in line with our detect-cancer-early initiative to improve cancer survival rates in Scotland.”

Regional variation in waiting times is recorded: NHS Borders began treating 98.6% of patients within 62 days of urgent referral – the highest recorded rate of treatment within 62 days being among mainland NHS boards and the lowest rate was recorded at 91.3%.  NHS Grampian however, registered the longest patient wait from urgent referral with suspicion of cancer to treatment at 145 days.

The initial targets of 95% of patients beginning their treatment for both the 31-day and 62-day standards by the end of 2011 has been met and exceeded with 96.7% for 31 days and 97.9% for 62 days – positive news for cancer patient care in Scotland.