Cancer waiting times amongst some of the worst ever

26 Mar 2024
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned the SNP Government that its new cancer strategy risks “becoming meaningless” as new figures show that waiting times for cancer treatment are amongst some of the worst ever.

Public Health Scotland figures reveal that in the quarter ending 31st December 2023, only 71.1% of patients were treated within the target of 62 days from referral. This is a mere 2% increase from when figures were at their worst ever level in the quarter ending 31st March 2023, when just 69.4% were seen within the standard.

80% or more of patients haven’t been seen within the standard since the end of September 2021, while the last time 75% or more of patients were seen within the standard was the quarter ending 30 June 2022.

The Scottish Government launched its revised Cancer Strategy 2023-2033 in June 2023.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“It’s hugely worrying to see waiting times at some of their worst ever levels. I am concerned that we are moving in the wrong direction and that if things don’t improve fast, the government’s strategy risks becoming meaningless to everyone suffering these long waits.

“Early intervention in cancer cases is crucial to chances of survival. Patients need to be treated quickly and effectively, but instead they are being forced to endure lengthy waits.

“I want to see the Health Secretary pulling out all the stops to cut waiting times. Staff and patients are tired of being continually failed by a government that can’t match its words with action.”