National cancer plan: progress report - August 2022

Scotland's national cancer plan comes to completion in March 2023. This report uses insights from the available evidence to update on progress against all 68 actions in the plan as at 31 August 2022.


Context and Background

The Recovery and Redesign: An Action Plan for Cancer Services (“National Cancer Plan”) introduced a wide range of new actions and areas of focus for cancer services. The commitments set out in this National Cancer Plan aimed to redesign cancer services to benefit patients and increase services’ resilience to future rises in COVID-19 prevalence.

This report documents progress made in relation to the commitments in the National Cancer Plan: what has changed so far and what milestones have been reached.

The aims of the Scottish Government’s Re-mobilise, Recover and Re-design Framework are central to the commitments for the recovery and redesign of cancer services. The Framework aims to effectively mobilise the NHS to a better health and care system through: 1) innovation and integration, 2) ensuring equity of access, 3) achieving better outcomes for people in Scotland, and their families.

Structure of the Report

The first section of the report, a Summary of Progress against actions, provides a summary overview of progress. The next section, on Data on Cancer in Scotland, summarises data on cancer incidence, stage at diagnosis, waiting times and mortality. While it will take several years to understand the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the statistics presented in this section provide some initial evidence of the indirect impact that the pandemic has had on individuals with suspected or confirmed cancer.

The section that follows provides an update on all the actions set out in the National Cancer Plan. Reflecting the structure of the National Cancer Plan, this section of the report is structured around six overarching sets of actions and outcomes: Patient and Family Support, Detection and Diagnosis, A Focus on Lung Cancer, Treatment, Workforce, Governance and System Support. Data on screening, detection and diagnosis, and treatment are included to support progress updates on these sets of actions.

Key achievements, progress, and/or delays in relation to these actions are reported. This includes updates on four flagship actions: Cancer Prehabilitation, Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Centres (formerly Early Cancer Diagnostic Centres), a Single Point of Contact, and a dedicated national resource for cancer (the Scottish Cancer Network). Data and evidence are used where available to report on outcomes. The report incorporates information about ongoing or planned data gathering activities, evaluation reports and research projects associated with individual actions. Selected case studies are used to illustrate impact and to provide a snapshot of activities.

In addition to reporting the progress made in relation to specified commitments, the findings from this report will provide insight for future policy development and planning for Scotland’s new Cancer Strategy. This planning will include the design of a monitoring and evaluation framework to set out sources of evidence and data indicators that will be used for future reporting in relation to the new cancer strategy.



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