15 March 2019






Lewis Macdonald - Support needed for earlier cancer diagnosis

North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald met Cancer Research UK staff at the Scottish Labour party conference in Dundee last weekend, to learn about the charity’s priorities for beating cancer sooner in Scotland.

According to statistics from ISD Scotland, only 67.7% of patients waiting for diagnostic tests in Grampian are seen within the Scottish Government’s six-week target, including many who are waiting to hear whether or not they have cancer.

The earlier a cancer is diagnosed the more likely it is to be treated successfully.

For some of the most common types of cancer, survival is more than three times likely higher when the disease is diagnosed at its earliest stages.

Lewis said:

“Cancer has a huge effect on families in Grampian, so it has been important to meet the Cancer Research UK team to hear more about their priorities for diagnosing patients sooner in Scotland.

“NHS Grampian has faced funding and staffing challenges for years, and these are reflected in the long waiting times even for diagnostic tests. Until cancer has been diagnosed, treatment cannot commence, in some cases reducing the likelihood of survival.

“I have written to Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman MSP to ask the Scottish Government to take action to support NHS Grampian to recruit more diagnostic staff, so that patients don’t have to wait any longer than necessary.”

Gordon Matheson, Public Affairs Manager for Scotland at Cancer Research UK, said: “The NHS is under continued strain with too many patients still waiting too long for tests, some of which could detect cancer.

“With a welcome focus on screening and early detection of cancer, there’s an urgent need to comprehensively address workforce shortages.

“Much needed investment in this area is beginning to emerge and it’s vital we see a strong emphasis on making sure we have enough staff to meet increasing patient need, and that existing staff are being used to their best potential.”