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Cancer Health Targets Missed Again 2006-09-18

Posted by clype in Europe, Health, Scotland, Statistics.

Waiting times for patients with ovarian cancer and prostate cancer have got worse, as ‘The Scottish Executive’ again failed to hit its treatment targets.

Figures released 2006-09-15 showed some improvement in the proportion of overall cancer patients starting treatment within two months of urgent referral — up from 74 per cent at the end of last year 2005 to 78.5 per cent by the end of 2006-03. But this is still well off the 95 per cent target.

And ovarian cancer saw performance drop from 92 per cent to 89 per cent, while urological cancers, which include prostate cancer and kidney cancer, dropped from 61 per cent to 60 per cent.

‘The Scottish Executive’ has already dropped the target from 100 per cent to 95 per cent after experts advised ministers that it could never be met due to factors beyond physicians’ and The National Health Service’s control.

Most cancers saw some improvement in waiting times, especially bowel cancer, which was causing the most concern. The proportion of patients treated within two months increased from 63 per cent to 71 per cent.

There were also wide variations between health boards. The poorest performance, with only 50 per cent meeting the two-month target for all cancers, was in ‘Argyll and Clyde’.

The Health Minister Andy Kerr, said the figures were ‘a step in the right direction’. But he said more work remained to be done:

[Picture of Andy Kerr]
‘While significant investment is now beginning to show some results, we must do more to translate this into real benefits for patients.

‘That’s why boards must not let up, but instead build on this improvement and use the targeted measures we have put in place to drive on towards meeting the 95 per cent target.’

The Scottish National Party health spokesman Ms.Shona Robison

[Picture of Shona Robison]
‘These figures show Andy Kerr is failing to meet the problem of cancer patients waiting too long for treatment.

‘The regional disparities in waiting times also expose a postcode lottery for cancer treatment, which is simply not acceptable.’

Cancer Research UK Scotland’s Professor Mr.Jim Cassidy, said:

[Picture of Jim Cassidy]
‘While it is disappointing that the overall target hasn’t been reached, we are moving in the right direction for most types of cancer and that is encouraging.

‘The overall mortality rate for people under 75 has dropped significantly over the last decade, showing that new treatments and improved care are improving prospects for Scotland’s cancer patients.’

Head of cancer services at the charity Cancerbackup Mr.Derryn Borley, said it was disappointing that ‘The Scottish Executive’ figures again fell short of the 95 per cent target.

‘It is also disappointing to see that the percentage of people receiving treatment for both ovarian and urological cancer within the two-month period has actually fallen.

‘Rather than worrying about the length of time it is going to take to access the necessary treatment, people with cancer should be concentrating on recovering.

‘Unfortunately Scotland and the rest of the UK still lag well behind Europe in survival and treatment rates.’

Other figures published yesterday showed cancer mortality rates in Scotland are now falling. Around one in three Scots is at risk of getting cancer during their lifetime.

  • In 2005, 7 637 men and 7 450 women died from cancer in Scotland.

However, death rates in the past decade have fallen by just 13 per cent in men and by 5 per cent in women. Experts believe this is due to a decrease in smoking, plus better treatments, meaning that more patients survive.

CancerBackUp Freephone: 0808 800 1234 | Donations | Cancerbackup, FREEPOST KE7193, London, England. EC2B 2DW.



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