Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has noted that patients in Stranraer wishing to use patient transport have to travel to Edinburgh via Dumfries rather than to cancer services in Glasgow — resulting in longer travelling times.
And last week he urged Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Shona Robison to review referral pathways for cancer patients.
Mr Carson noted that arrangements being used for cancer patients date back 25 years, describing these as having been set up as a pragmatic approach to a shortfall in services.
Answering, Ms Robison said NHS Dumfries and Galloway were already planning to carry out a review of referral pathways and pledged to keep in contact with him on this important issue.
Mr Carson said: “I welcome the news that Dumfries and Galloway Health Board are intending to carry out a review of referral pathways, and I look forward to the details of this review coming forward.
“The current arrangements are outdated and it is absurd that cancer patients have no choice as to where they receive treatment.
“Going through cancer is already traumatic enough without having to travel extra distances to receive treatment.
“I hope people take the opportunity to feed their thoughts into the review and that way we will see an end to unnecessary travel through improved treatment pathways.”
SNP MSP Emma Harper has also welcomed news that a review of referral pathways is to take place.
Having previously worked as a nurse in NHS Dumfries & Galloway, Ms Harper said: “I welcome the decision that has been made by the Dumfries and Galloway Health Board to review cancer treatment pathways for people in our region.
“I have spoken to many cancer patients who have been forced to make long journeys to be diagnosed and treated for this cruel disease.”