News

Improving cancer waiting times

Published: 28 Jun 2021 10:30

£10 million investment in cancer care.

A £10 million fund is being provided to Health Boards across Scotland to improve cancer waiting times.

The money will be directed to where it is most needed in each region, and could be used for enhancing staff skills, investing in diagnostic tests and supporting evening and weekend working so more patients can be seen.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf announced the fund while visiting one of Scotland’s first Early Cancer Diagnostic Centres (ECDC) in Fife, which will see patients with non-specific symptoms suspicious of cancer receiving a diagnosis – cancer or not – within 21 days of referral.

He said: “Limiting the impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients has been a top priority in all of our planning, with the majority of vital cancer treatments continuing throughout the pandemic.

“Our commitment to finding and treating cancer as early as possible has never been greater. The establishment of Scotland’s first three Early Cancer Diagnostic Centres demonstrates this. We had pledged to open three centres within the first 100 days of this Government, so I’m delighted to say we’ve delivered on that commitment.

“This £10 million will enable Boards to further recover and redesign cancer services for patients across Scotland and drive improvements in waiting times.” 

Over the coming weeks, the funding will be divided between Scotland’s 14 Health Boards, to enhance cancer services where they are needed most.

Background

The Scottish Government published the National Cancer Recovery Plan in December 2020, backed by investment of up to £114.5 million that will support cancer patients to have equitable access to care regardless of where they live.

Investment for cancer services. - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Our NHS has consistently either met, or been very close to meeting, the 31-day decision to treat cancer standard. From decision to treat to first treatment, cancer patients in Scotland wait on average four days for treatment.

Early Cancer Diagnostic Centres have been established in NHS Dumfries & Galloway, NHS Fife and NHS Ayrshire & Arran. The Centres – within existing NHS infrastructure – enable GPs to refer patients with non-specific symptoms suspicious of cancer (such as fatigue, weight loss and nausea) onto a fast-track diagnostic pathway to get the care and treatment they need sooner.

New services to help find cancer sooner - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)