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22/09/19 00:01

Investment to improve cancer care

Support for cancer diagnostic services.

Patients suspected of having cancer will benefit from more than £8 million towards more staff and services to improve waiting times.

This additional funding, part of the £850 million Waiting Times Improvement Plan, will specifically support cancer and diagnostic waiting times this year.

With almost 57% more patients being referred with an urgent suspicion of cancer since 2010, £4.8 million of the money will be directed towards diagnostic services.

The funding will support health boards in creating more capacity through additional CT, MRI and scope sessions and workforce expansion to ensure those waiting for tests are seen as quickly as possible.

It will also target improvements to cancer pathways, with a particular focus on urological and colorectal cancers.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Waiting on diagnostic tests can be a worrying experience, particularly if there is a suspicion of cancer. It’s vital that people get a result as quickly as possible.

“That is why I launched our £850 million Waiting Times Improvement Plan last year, directing significant investment into substantial and sustainable improvement including diagnostics, which is crucial for cancer care.

“The immediate focus of the Improvement Plan is to reduce waits for patients whose treatment is urgent and this £8.2 million will support health boards in achieving this vital requirement by spring 2021.”

Background

All health boards that requested funding have received an allocation.

The Waiting Times Improvement Plan was announced in October 2018.

The plan commits and directs investment of £535 million in frontline spending, and around £120 million in capital, in addition to the ongoing £200 million elective and diagnostic treatment centres programme over the next two and a half years.

In 2018 the Scottish Government announced an Endoscopy Action Plan, backed by £14 million of funding. As a result of the measures put in place so far the number of patients waiting over six weeks has reduced by 41% between the end of July 2018 and June 2019.