Cole-Hamilton: Early cancer diagnosis essential

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said the Scottish Government is failing patients after new figures out today show that it is still missing its own cancer detection target by a wide margin, years after it was supposed to be met.

In 2012, the Health Secretary launched the Detect Cancer Early programme, with the aim of increasing the number of people diagnosed at the earliest stage (stage 1) by 25% by 2015. However, today’s statistics show there has only been a 9.4% increase to date.

Although most of the mainland NHS Boards have shown a slight increase in stage 1 diagnosis, since the baseline in 2012, NHS Highland and NHS Borders have shown a decrease.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex-Cole Hamilton MSP said:

“It’s so disheartening to see the Scottish Government still failing to meet its target, years on from when it was meant to.

“Early diagnosis of cancer is essential and can make all the difference to successful treatment.

“Disappointingly for patients and their loved ones, this is yet another broken promise. Cancer waiting times are at their worst since the standard was introduced in 2012 and people in the most deprived areas are still less likely to be diagnosed at an early stage. Patients are being failed and the Health Secretary must act swiftly to turn this around. Properly fund and resource the NHS or risk more lives.”

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