NHS Scotland has experienced an unprecedented level of pressure over recent months due to COVID-19 and remains on an emergency footing. Throughout the pandemic we have continued to prioritise cancer services. During the response phase, we have produced a range of key clinical guidance to drive consistent approaches and safely respond to this new risk. We have made changes to our health service to mitigate this risk, including the use of personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning regimes, testing and increased remote consultation. All of this will continue and is how we now deliver treatment and care in this COVID-19 context.
This Action Plan for Cancer Services will review the new circumstances in which we operate, including positive innovations that have emerged in the NHS, and introduce a wide range of new actions and areas of focus for cancer services. These actions will both redesign cancer services to benefit patients, and increase our services’ overall resilience to future rises in COVID-19 prevalence. Our actions will follow a patient across their pathway, from initial detection and diagnosis, to their treatment, and the support they receive throughout their journey. Further actions will outline steps to improve the workforce, governance and national support for cancer services
Working to a horizon of March 2023 and with the provision of up to an additional £17 million of funding, subject to annual Parliamentary approval, in addition to a committed spend of £97.5 million, this plan has been produced with input from a wide range of stakeholders, all of whom will be crucial to supporting its delivery over this period.
To all those who have been involved in this, and will be in its delivery, I thank you for your invaluable work and contributions. I’ve been very clear that cancer must remain a priority within our NHS, and delivering this plan will be crucial to that continued prioritisation, while taking all opportunities to further improve patient’s experiences of our cancer services.
Our vision is to improve cancer services and patient outcomes, and ensure equitable access to care wherever a patient may live, especially while the risk to COVID-19 persists. To do this, we will make the best use of workforce skills, technology and service innovation to drive earlier cancer diagnosis and treatment, and champion person-centred care.