NHS Tayside: 365 women sent to other health boards for cancer treatment

The number of patients sent to other areas for services continues to soar after the health board was rocked by a treatment scandal.

NHS Tayside: 365 women sent to other health boards for breast cancer treatment iStock

More than 360 women in Tayside have been sent to other health boards for breast cancer treatment, new figures show.

A Freedom of Information response from NHS Tayside revealed there have been 365 patients in the region that have been sent to hospitals and clinics in other areas.

This has increased from 204 patients as of September 2022 and 315 patients in January 2023.

It follows a report by the Royal College of Physicians into NHS Tayside breast oncology last November, after it emerged more than 300 patients were given reduced treatment between December 2016 and March 2019.

Scottish Labour have claimed breast cancer services had “collapsed” with three consultant vacancies also remaining unfilled.

Health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “Years have passed but cancer services in NHS Tayside are still in turmoil and women are still being failed.

“The SNP’s continued failure to get a grip of this crisis is putting women’s lives at risk and forcing hundreds of vulnerable cancer patients to travel across the country for lifesaving treatment.

“Patients and staff alike have been completely betrayed in this long-running scandal.

“As health secretary Humza Yousaf failed to address this crisis – he must do better as First Minister.

“The SNP government must work with NHS Tayside to help them fill these vacancies and get services up and running again as a matter of urgency.”

A government review in 2019 showed more than 300 patients were given reduced treatment by doctors at NHS Tayside in a bid to reduce serious side effects and subsequent conditions.

Consultants were cleared by the General Medical Council of any wrongdoing on consent.

The clinical record review published in November urged NHS Tayside to make improvements to ensure better care for cancer patients in the future.

An NHS Tayside spokesperson said “NHS Tayside is absolutely committed to delivering cancer services locally. There is a national shortage of oncology consultants and NHS Tayside oncology teams have been working with three other centres in Scotland to ensure treatment pathways are in place enabling cancer patients to be treated in a timely manner.

“NHS Tayside’s oncology team has been working very hard to recruit to our vacant positions and has successfully recruited to a number of specialist oncology positions within Tayside Cancer Services including consultants and speciality doctors’ posts.

“This successful recruitment of specialised clinical staff will support the continuing reduction of mutual aid provided by the three cancer centres.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Tayside Cancer Centre has a committed and caring clinical team, focused on delivering their rebuild plan for the centre.

“We do not want patients to have to travel beyond Tayside for any longer than necessary and note the number of patients being asked to do so is reducing significantly.

“We would expect NHS Tayside to do all they can to continue this progress.”

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