Scottish health minister Andy Kerr has urged Scotland’s health boards to improve waiting times for cancer treatment following new figures showing that they are failing to meet official targets.
Just 74 per cent of cancer patients in Scotland are receiving treatment within two months following an urgent referral by their doctor.
Despite Scotland’s NHS boards reporting performance improvements in relation to breast and lung cancer waits, Mr Kerr claims that overall more needs to be done to meet the two-month waiting target which came into force in January this year.
Although today’s performance figures relate to cancer waiting times during the last three months of 2005, before the target was introduced, the health minister stressed that performance across the NHS "isn’t good enough."
"Personally, I find that very frustrating and I know how distressing it is for those people who have to wait longer than they should for treatment," said Mr Kerr.
The health minister claimed that despite long-term additional investment in cancer services, Scotland’s health boards were failing to deliver the benefits to patients.
Since 2001, the Scottish Executive has appointed 300 additional doctors, nurses and other health professionals to care for cancer sufferers.
Just 63 per cent of bowel cancer patients received treatment within two months of a referral, during the last three months of 2005.