Cancer survival is a key measure of the effectiveness of health care systems. Our Cancer programme supports Better Cancer Care - An Action Plan, the extant cancer strategy for Scotland.
This extended the 62-day cancer waiting times target to include patients referred through the national cancer screening programmes. The action plan also set the target that by 2011, all patients diagnosed with cancer, whatever the route of referral, would start treatment within 31 days from the date of decision to treat.
These targets were met early and will become standards from April 2012. Our Cancer team will continue to have a role in monitoring Board compliance against the standards.
Another key workstream we will be managing is 'Detect Cancer Early ' which focuses on the stage of the disease at which treatment is provided. The key phrase is 'the earlier the better' as cancers which present earlier are more amenable to treatment and have greater survival outcomes.
There is a HEAT target to increase the proportion of people diagnosed and treated in the first stage of breast, colorectal and lung cancer by 25 per cent by 2014-2015. Detect Cancer Early is an ambitious programme which requires the involvement of the third sector, public health, primary care and the acute sector.
The Detect Cancer Early Programme, including the Cancer Access Standards, is one element of the overall work plan of the Scottish Cancer Taskforce - other work streams include Acute Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Radiotherapy Capacity work, Quality Performance Indicators and the Transforming Care after Treatment Programme.