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Urgent action call as cancer backlog grows

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By Euan Maxwell
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Urgent action call as cancer backlog grows

‘URGENT action’ is required to reduce the growing backlog of patients in the region awaiting cancer treatment.

That is the cry of local politicians this week, who have highlighted new statistics which reveal 87.7 per cent of cancer patients in Dumfries and Galloway are seen within the 62-day time limit – below the Government’s target of 95 per cent.

It was pointed out, however, that the region’s figure is above Scotland’s average of 83 per cent.

But Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson, who praised the “hard work of the medical teams and management staff” said there is “no room for complacency”.

He added: “I am calling on the SNP Government to make sure that all available resources are made available to front-line staff to help them ease the backlog of patients suffering from cancer.

“The pandemic has put an enormous strain on all health services and it is important that everything possible is done to try and reduce waiting times. This can only be achieved through additional monies being provided to health boards.”

Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell also called on ministers to ensure that cancer patients are treated as quickly as possible.

He said: “The fact remains that the Scottish Government continues to fail to meet its own target that 95 per cent of patients should be seen within 62 days after an urgent referral.

“Waiting for a cancer diagnosis, or to begin treatment, is extremely stressful and time really is of the essence.”

Furthermore, Mr Mundell criticised a £10 million funding package announced by the Government this week in a bid to improve cancer waiting times.

He said: “This sum won’t be enough to make the big improvements in waiting times that are needed, and that’s why I want to see a substantial one-off investment made by Scottish Ministers — as much as £600 million — to bring treatment times under control here in Dumfries and Galloway and across the rest of Scotland.”

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