Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned that Scotland’s cancer care services are “on the cusp of a crisis”, as new statistics reveal a significant decrease in the number of cervical cancer patients receiving treatment on time.
72.2% of referrals started treatment within 62 days of referral, a decrease from 88.9% in the previous quarter.
This follows the Scottish Government’s announcement on the final day of the parliamentary term that thousands of women have been wrongly excluded from the cervical screening programme and that one woman has died.
Overall, only two of Scotland’s fourteen health boards met the 62-day standard waiting time for urgent referral to the start of cancer treatment.
Commenting, Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
“Information about cervical cancer screening errors was deliberately withheld from the public until the last day of the parliamentary term. Women may know themselves if they had a subtotal hysterectomy and could have booked in for screening, but as it is more precious time has been lost.
“In the meantime, the Scottish Government have continued to fail cancer patients across Scotland who need timely treatment. With more women likely to need screening and follow up care as a result of the public health scandal, the Scottish Government need to get a grip of cancer care and treatment.
“Treatment time guarantees have never been the Scottish Government’s strong suit, but these failures cannot be swept up under the excuse of the pandemic. We are on the cusp of a crisis. There is no more time to lose.
“The situation is dire and urgent. There must be an emergency debate to ensure these issues are at the very top of the Scottish Government’s agenda when parliament is recalled on the 13th of July.”