Missed cancer referrals "disappointing"

In collaboration with the Press Association

A missed target for cancer referrals in Scotland is "disappointing" Cancer Research UK has said, but the charity has noted that there was progress in other areas.

The Scottish Executive had pledged that 95 per cent of referrals to cancer specialists would be seen within two months, but compliance is currently at 82.5 per cent.

Scottish health minister Andy Kerr said the failure will be investigated and that the target would be met "as soon as possible".

"Waiting for a possible diagnosis of cancer can be very distressing," said medical director at Cancer Research UK Professor John Toy.

"If patients have to wait too long before receiving treatment, this can result in a less successful outcome."

He added that the failure should not obscure progress made elsewhere. Performance on all cancers referred was up eight per cent, with 93.3 per cent of breast cancer patients beginning their treatment promptly following a diagnosis.

"While it's disappointing that the overall target in Scotland hasn't yet been reached it is encouraging that improvements are being made," said Professor Toy.

"We look forward to seeing the results of the new measures that are being put in place to ensure this progress is accelerated further.

"Cancer Research UK's Cancer2020 campaign urges the Scottish Executive to update its cancer strategy to plan now for the challenges facing cancer services in the future."