Delays slammed in wait for cancer treatment in West Lothian

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Figures for West Lothian just released would serve to correct assumptions that cancer patients are treated as soon as they are diagnosed.

For the statistics show that NHS Lothian missed its target for treating cancer patients between April and June of this year by 11.9 per cent.

It has also been revealed that in some cases, patients had to wait up to 160 days before being treated.

This contrasts with the current target across NHS Scotland that 95 per cent of patients should be seen within 62 days of diagnosis.

A Conservative South Scotland MSP Michelle Ballantyne, who is a former nurse, flagged up the issue to the Gazette.

Ms Ballantyne is also critical of the Scottish Government for what she sees as a lack of progress here.

She said: “Cancer is a devastating illness and I offer my support to anyone who has been diagnosed with it.

“In the last few months more than 500 people have been diagnosed with cancer across the Lothians and it is exceptionally important that we make sure people are treated quickly.

“This is why it is very concerning that across NHS Lothian less people are being treated within the Scottish Government’s timeframe.

“Rather than improving waiting times we are now seeing five per cent more people being forced to wait longer to receive treatment. In some cases, people who have been diagnosed with cancer are being made to more than five months before treatment begins.”

Jacquie Campbell, Chief Officer of Acute Services, NHS Lothian, said: “We know this is a worrying time and we work hard to make sure we diagnose and treat patients as quickly as possible.

“ I would apologise to anyone who has been waiting longer than they should.

“We see and treat the majority of cancer patients within the agreed waiting times and we are always looking of ways of improving our service, such as providing additional clinics and theatre time, and redesigning patient pathways to help prevent potential delays to treatment.”