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Cancer waiting times

Published: 29 Sep 2015 09:30

Thirty one day standard continues to be met

The 95 per cent standard of patients receiving cancer treatment within 31 days of a decision to treat continues to be met, according to statistics published today.

The figures, published by ISD Scotland, show that 96.3 per cent of patients had their first treatment within the 31 day standard from April to June 2015. The average wait was six days, and 90 per cent of patients waited 27 days or less.

For the 62 day referral to treatment standard, which applies to patients referred with a suspicion of cancer, 92.1 per cent were treated within 62 days. This is a slight improvement on 91.9 per cent last quarter. The average wait was 37 days, and the number of boards meeting the standard has increased from four to eight in the last quarter.

This summer the Scottish Government announced £4.05 million of additional funding to help health boards improve cancer waiting times. The funding is targeted at helping boards to meet the 62 day standard, by building diagnostic and treatment capacity. It is in on top of the £8.5 million invested over the past three years to improve cancer services, which runs alongside the £30 million Detect Cancer Early campaign.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

"Prompt cancer treatment is vital, and that's why we have set rigorous standards in this area. I am pleased to see that the 31 day standard continues to be met, and that the average wait is only six days once a decision has been made to treat.

"This is despite the fact that an ageing population, and improvements to screening and diagnosis, has led to a significant increase in the number of people being diagnosed with cancer. We have also seen substantially improved survival rates, which is to be welcomed.

"However, although we have seen a slight improvement in performance against the 62 day standard, there is still substantial work to be done. Waiting times against 62 days have reduced from early 2007, when only 84.5 per cent of patients were treated within this time, but we are absolutely committed to supporting boards to reach the challenging 95 per cent standard we have set.

"Earlier this year I announced an additional, targeted £4.05 million to help boards make improvements. This will help to improve diagnostics and build capacity, with help for boards that are experiencing particular pressures, cutting waiting times and ensuring patients get the speedy tests and treatment they need."


The Scottish Government standard is that:
• 95 per cent of patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer will wait a maximum of 62 days from referral to first cancer treatment.
• 95 per cent of all patients, regardless of route of referral, will wait a maximum of 31 days from decision to treat to first cancer treatment
The ISD publication 'Cancer Waiting Times in Scotland – April to June 2015' is available here: