Health secretary Jeane Freeman’s first anniversary in the post has been marred by more “abysmal” statistics on cancer treatment.
She will mark the 12-month milestone tomorrow, but her tenure has already been dubbed a “year of failure” by the Scottish Conservatives.
That’s backed up by ISD Scotland figures today showing nearly a fifth of people urgently referred on suspicion of having cancer are waiting more than 62 days to begin treatment.
The 81.4 per cent seen to on time is the joint-lowest on record, with only three health boards hitting the 95 per cent target.
Not one of the 10 most common cancer were on target for treatment rates, and in one health board – NHS Highland – more than a quarter of people were waiting too long.
The report also showed one in three patients with suspected colorectal cancer – a major killer among Scots – had to languish for more than two months without an appointment.
Another report out today revealed alcohol treatment times were at a three-year low, and prisoners continue enjoy significantly quicker care when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction than those on the outside.
Since Ms Freeman was appointed on June 26, 2018, Scotland’s health service has continued to deteriorate.
The 12-week Treatment Time Guarantee – a legal pledge set out by the SNP in 2011 – has hit a record low; a quarter of adults are waiting too long for mental health treatment; and just 70 per cent of chronic pain patients are being seen within the target timeframe.
There are 400 vacant consultant posts, a chronic shortage of nurses and midwives, agency and bank costs are increasing and the country remains in the grip of a GP crisis.
In addition, two hospitals in Glasgow have been hit by patient-death scandals, and an inquiry has been launched after breast cancer patients in Tayside were given the wrong dose of chemotherapy.
Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:
“Jeane Freeman is a year into the job and things have only got worse. It’s been a year of failure.
“That’s been confirmed not only by the various crises which have beset Scotland’s NHS on her watch over the last year.
“But even the most recent figures are showing a health service in decline under this SNP government.
“People who have been urgently referred for cancer treatment have never waited longer for their treatment to begin – that’s an abysmal reflection on her tenure.
“These are people whose chances of survival slip as every day goes by – yet this nationalist government is sitting on its hands.
“For 12 years we have had an SNP government obsessed with nothing by independence – and our NHS has suffered as a result.”
Notes to editors:
To see the full report on cancer waiting times, visit:
To see the full report on drug and alcohol waiting times, visit: