NHS Grampian (Cancer Referrals)

Question Time — Scottish Executive — Health and Wellbeing – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 4th December 2008.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alex Johnstone Alex Johnstone Conservative 2:15 pm, 4th December 2008

To ask the Scottish Executive what percentage of referrals for cancer treatment in NHS Grampian are seen within 62 days. (S3O-5061)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

In December 2000, it was announced in "Our National Health: A plan for action, a plan for change" that, by 2005, the maximum wait from urgent referral for treatment for all cancers would be two months. Quarterly performance statistics showing progress against the 62-day target, broken down by national health service board and cancer type, have been published from October 2004 and are available on the Scottish Government website. NHS Grampian's latest performance for patients diagnosed from April to June 2008 is 89.9 per cent.

Photo of Alex Johnstone Alex Johnstone Conservative

Is the cabinet secretary satisfied with the progress that has been made, particularly on colorectal cancer? Has she had any more discussions on how waiting times might be reduced further?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

No, I am not satisfied with progress, and I will not be satisfied until boards are delivering sustainably on the 95 per cent target. According to the latest figures, performance stands at 93 per cent, although there has been significant improvement across Scotland, with a 6.2 percentage point increase over the past year. Significant progress has been made on a target that has been in place for some time, but I want further action to ensure that the target is met not only across Scotland but in every NHS board.

As the member rightly points out, colorectal cancer is a particular issue in NHS Grampian. Melanoma is another concern, and such issues are being actively pursued by the Scottish Government cancer performance support team, which is establishing a programme of visits to boards and targeting, in particular, colorectal pathway improvements. NHS Grampian will be included in that round of support.