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Cancer patients “waiting too long”

Cancer patients in Scotland are still having to wait too long for hospital treatment, according to newly-published NHS figures.

In 2001 a target was set for 95% of cancer patients to be treated within 62 days of urgent referral by 2005. However, that target has never been achieved, and the latest figures show that the health service is still falling short.

Across Scotland, 94.1% of patients were treated within 62 days, compared with 93.6% in the previous quarter.

However, the Scottish Government said that the figures continue to improve, and added that if just 20 more patients had been treated within the deadline, the target would have been achieved. Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon urged health boards on to “one last push” to hit the target.

Ovarian cancer was the most likely to be treated within the target time, at 100%, while lymphoma was the lowest, at 89.4%. For breast cancer, the overall compliance rate was 97.8% – but this varied between 90.3% in Grampian, 92.9% in Fife, and 100% in several areas.

Across Scotland, the proportion of patients treated within two months of urgent referral had gone up from 84.5% to 94.1% in the space of a year, the Scottish Government said.

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Scottish Government