Cole-Hamilton raises shocking disparities in cancer care

29 Feb 2024
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today raised the case of Gill Gooding and called for all Scots to have access to the highest quality of cancer care regardless of where they live.

Gill Gooding and her sister Jo Thompson both have the CHEK2 cancer gene with a high risk of developing the disease.

Jo had a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction in Edinburgh after learning it could cut the risk by up to 95%. The reconstructive surgery she received is not available in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, where Gill lives, and the more invasive treatment they do offer has a minimum waiting list of 18 months.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“An international study has shown that Scotland is amongst the longest waits and poorest access to cancer treatment.

“I want to tell the Chamber about Gill. Her mum, dad, cousin, aunt and two grandparents have all died of cancer.

“Her sister tested positive for the CHEK2 cancer gene and was given preventative surgery and reconstruction in Edinburgh.

“But Gill was repeatedly denied genetic testing by NHS Glasgow, despite her family history. She persevered and discovered that she does have that gene.

“But now she is being told that the surgery her sister received in Edinburgh isn’t available in Glasgow, meaning far longer waits and recovery times.

“Presiding Officer, when cancer rips through your family, and you know it is coming for you, the last thing you need is to fight for care.

“All Gill wants to do, is to see her young children grow up – something her own mum never got to do.

“So can I ask the First Minister to look into Gill’s case, and to ensure that all patients, wherever they live, have the highest quality cancer care?”