Beating bowel cancer together

We welcome Scottish Government decision to prioritise cancer services

Sweeping new measures to help prioritise cancer services in Scotland, as the NHS moves into its recovery phase following the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, were announced this afternoon by Jeane Freeman MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport.

A new Cancer Recovery Group (CRG) will begin from tomorrow, Friday 5 June, which will be responsible for national strategy development for cancer. Below this group will sit a new Cancer Treatment Group (CTG), set up to agree and promote a national clinical prioritisation of cancer treatments, including surgery.

This follows the publication yesterday of the Scottish Government’s cancer surgery recovery framework. The framework outlines that all patients across Scotland will be prioritised in the same way, and that health boards must work together to offer the earliest available appointment to anyone needing surgery. This will mean patients may be offered an operation in a different health board to where they live.

Jeane Freeman spoke at the Daily Scottish Government briefing at St Andrew’s House, Edinburgh, telling patients: “Be assured you are a priority, and our absolute focus is that you are treated as quickly and safely as possible.”

Genevieve Edwards, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said: “The Scottish Government’s decision to place cancer at the heart of the NHS recovery phase is critically important to bowel cancer and a hugely positive step. Bowel cancer has been disproportionately affected through the pandemic.

“A combination of bowel cancer screening being paused, coupled with significant delays to diagnostics, surgery and further treatments for the disease will without doubt lead to a surge in late bowel cancer diagnoses in the months to come.

“Every year over, 3,700 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Scotland and over 1,600 lose their lives to the disease, making it Scotland’s second biggest cancer killer. We can and must do better, and today’s announcement is a welcome step in the right direction.”

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