Our response to the Scottish Government waiting times plan
Monday 29 October 2018
Scotland’s Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has recently announced £850 million would be invested over the next 30 months to drive down waiting times for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The plan follows the deteriorating performance against the 62-day cancer target in particular, which expects that 95% of patients found to have cancer will begin their first treatment within 62 days of referral for tests and scans.
This has not been achieved since October 2012, and in April to June this year compliance dipped to a new low of 84.6%.
The Government's new Waiting Times Improvement Plan sets out measures to reverse the decline, with a new pledge that the 62-day cancer target will be achieved by Spring 2021.
It has also set out fresh deadlines on other key targets, including a pledge that 95% of patients waiting for an outpatient appointment will wait no longer than 12 weeks, and by October 2019 95% of patients will be seen within the 31 day standard.
The Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Clydebank, is going to become an elective centre, with increased diagnostic capacity. It will undertake an additional 600 endoscopies between now and March 2019 and then an additional 1,200 endoscopy procedures annually.
Claire Donaghy, Head of Scotland for Bowel Cancer UK, says: “Although we welcome this announcement, we are disappointed that an investment in endoscopy workforce was not mentioned given that waiting time breaches for colonoscopy is the highest out of all the diagnostic tests. As at 30 June 2018, over 6,000 people were waiting more than six weeks for key tests than can diagnose bowel cancer.
“We have been highlighting for some time now that demand for these tests has been increasing yet this hasn’t been matched with a sufficient increase in workforce. There needs to be a formalised plan for endoscopy training that ensures all new nurse endoscopists are able to grow and develop their skills to become bowel screeners, and that they are accredited by the industry standard.
“We look forward to seeing the endoscopy action plan to read what else the Scottish Government are going to do to tackle this crisis.”
- Read more about how we plan to tackle the endoscopy crisis in our Right test, Right time campaign
- Become a campaign supporter and help lead the change and improve early diagnosis of bowel cancer.
- Find out more about our work in Scotland