Waiting times targets missed for 15,500 patients

Marion oneill pic (1)

Marion O’Neill: Problem is set to get worse.

Cancer Research UK calls for workforce plan to ensure quick diagnosis. 

26th November 2019 by Gavin Stuart 1 Comment

A charity has called for action after figures revealed around 15,500 patients in Scotland waited longer than six weeks for a diagnosis test.

The figures, from Scotland’s Information Services Division, showed that just 82.3% of patients received the tests they needed in the six-week target timeframe.

They reflect the waiting times for all diagnostic services in Scotland, including some which affect cancer patients.

Cancer Research UK is now calling for a cancer workforce plan to ensure people with cancer are diagnosed as quickly as possible.

Marion O’Neill, the charity’s head of external affairs, said: “When you’re worried about your health, waiting for tests is an anxious time. This report tells us that a large number of people, including those with suspected cancer, are waiting longer than the target time for tests.

“NHS staff shortages in Scotland contribute to these lengthy delays and the problem is set to get worse because the number of people with cancer is increasing.

“If we’re to diagnose more cancers at an early stage and improve survival, a cancer workforce plan is urgently needed. This will ensure enough specialist staff can be trained and hired to plug current vacancies and prepare for the future.

“The Scottish Government’s commitment to ensuring we have the right workforce is welcome and we look forward to working with them to support the earlier diagnosis of cancer.”

Speaking to the BBC last night, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her government had implemented an £850 million plan to bring down waiting times for NHS patients.

The average waiting time was shorter this year than last, she added.

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