A third of cancer patients waiting almost 100 days for treatment

Only 66% of patients were seen within target treatment times in Fife, according to a new report.

A third of Fife cancer patients waiting almost 100 days to start treatment LDRS

Cancer patients in Fife are facing longer waits to get treatment.

According to the latest performance reports, only 66% got treatment within time to be seen.  

The Fife Integrated Performance and Quality report revealed that 34.2% of patients with suspected cancer have to wait between 64 and 108 days for treatment. The national target is for nearly all patients to start treatment within 62 days of referral. 

Belinda Morgan, NHS Fife general manager for emergency care, said: “We recognise the importance of early intervention in improving outcomes for patients with cancer and we are working continually to minimise the time it takes to detect and diagnose these in order that treatment can be initiated as soon as possible.

She continued: “Our performance against the 62-day performance target frequently bettered the Scottish average during much of 2022, however, the target proved particularly challenging over winter due to issues affecting key specialities.

“The length of time patients are waiting in excess of 62-days has already reduced since December 2022 and we continue to take all reasonable steps to ensure treatment can be initiated as quickly as possible.”

Outpatient diagnostic tests – such as MRIs, CT scans and ultrasounds – are also seeing backlogs. 

Nearly half of all patients sent for diagnostic tests are forced to wait for more than six weeks for an appointment. 

The performance report said waiting lists for endoscopy and radiology are 5% higher than last year. 

“In endoscopy it has not been possible to undertake any additional activity this year to reduce the backlog as no additional funding was received,” the NHS Fife report said. 

“It is anticipated that performance will continue to be challenged due to the demand for urgent diagnostics and the pressure from unscheduled care. It is likely that the number of patients waiting over 6 weeks will rise over the next 6 months.”

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