Please find Cancer Research UK’s response to today’s cancer treatment waiting times statistics published by Public Health Scotland. These latest figures show that 1526 fewer patients (23%) in Scotland started treatment for cancer compared to the same time last year.
The report also tells us that only 84.1% of patients with an urgent referral for a suspicion of cancer started treatment within 62 days during the last quarter April to June 2020. The target is 95 per cent.
This compares to 82.4% of patients with an urgent referral for a suspicion of cancer starting treatment at the same time last year. While the proportion of patients being seen has remained stable, the drop in the number of people being seen is of concern.
Our tweet in response to this report can be found @CRUKscotland here.
Marion O’Neill, Cancer Research UK’s head of external affairs in Scotland, said: “This report, which covers the period when the UK first went into lockdown, shows there was a sharp fall in the number of patients who started cancer treatment. This was when many cancer services were paused.
“These figures also show us that, even with fewer people being referred, the target was still missed and too many people were waiting too long for treatment to start.
“The growing backlog of people waiting is very worrying and must be tackled as a matter of urgency. The early diagnosis of cancer can significantly improve someone’s chances of survival.
“With a second wave of COVID-19 likely, everything possible must be done so patient care doesn’t suffer and waiting lists don’t get longer. This will require innovation as well as further investment in staff and equipment.
“Patients also need to feel confident of their safety so routine COVID-19 testing for all NHS staff working in cancer diagnosis and treatment areas is essential.”