Over 25% of Scottish patients suffering from cancer have been compelled to wait for more than the two-month target across the UK meant for initial treatment . This is resulting in further deterioration in the conditions of the patients where lung and breast cancer are concerned.
The April to June 2005 figures reveal that only 74.3% of the patients were attended within the target time. Bowel cancer patients who require early treatment had to undergo the longest waiting time periods, while progress was seen in the case of ovarian and skin cancers.
Meeting the set targets for treating cancer patients is looked upon as a challenge by the NHS. Delivery plans have already been issued to health boards to reduce waiting times, and the boards are required to take efforts towards delivering faster cancer care. The CancerBACUP Scotland, a charity organization that gets many distress calls from cancer patients, considers the waiting times altogether unacceptable.
The absence of well-designed services and staff shortage are being blamed for this. The Health Ministry of the UK has promised to treat within two months, all patients who come with an urgent referral, by end 2005. This appears to be increasingly difficult as the year draws to a close.