NHS Borders fails to meet key cancer waiting time target

NHS Borders has seen a significant fall in the number of patients meeting a key cancer waiting time target, new figures reveal.

 

Two targets exist in Scotland for cancer waiting times: 95 per cent of patients should receive treatment from a cancer referral within 62 days. The same percentage should also receive treatment from a decision to treat within 31 days.

The statistics, published today by ISD Scotland, show NHS Borders has easily met the 31 day target, with 100% of patients receiving treatment from a decision to treat within this timescale.

However for the 62 day target, only 88.2% of patients were treated within 62 days of a referral. This is down significantly from December 2018 when treatment came within the target time in 94.7% of cases.

NHS Borders has been consistently one of the best health boards at treating cancer and it remains above the Scottish average for waiting times. Across the whole of Scotland only 81% of patients were treated within the 62 day target.

Local MP John Lamont, who has praised NHS Borders for their performance in treating cancer has urged the health board to ensure that this important target is once again met.

John Lamont MP said: “This failure to meet the 62 day target is concerning, not least because NHS Borders has an excellent track record in treating cancer.

“NHS Borders remains one of the best health boards at meeting its cancer waiting time targets and for cancer screening and that is thanks to our hard working staff and the world leading Macmillan centre at Borders General Hospital.

“These waiting times exist because treating cancer early makes a huge difference to prognosis and recovery. Patients who have been given a cancer diagnosis should not have to endure the stress of waiting any longer than necessary for treatment.

“That is why I know staff at NHS Borders will be looking closely at how to ensure this target is met and improvements are made.”