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Cancer treatment times improve despite regional differences

18 February 2009

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Figures have revealed an increasing number of Scottish cancer patients are being treated within the target waiting time, but the targets are not being met everywhere in the country.

Some 94.6% of patients started their treatment within 62 days of being urgently referred – the highest proportion recorded and just short of the 95% target.

Progress has been faster in in some areas of Scotland than others. In NHS Lothian, 98.1% of all patients began treatment within 62 days. However in NHS Dumfries and Galloway the figure was 84.1% – the worst-performing mainland health board.

The figures, which cover July to September last year, show nine of Scotland’s 14 NHS boards met the target.

However, there are differences between types of cancers being treated as well as regional variations.

The figures reveal 98.4% of breast cancer patients began their treatment within 62 days of urgent referral but just 84.4% of lymphoma patients were treated in the same period.

Overall there was an increase from the previous quarter’s total of 93.5%

Set in 2000, the target of having 95% of patients being treated within 62 days has never been met.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said there has been “substantial progress” in cancer treatment times since 2007.

“It is very welcome to see that the majority of patients diagnosed with cancer who were urgently referred are rightly starting their treatment within two months.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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