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Publication Date: 28/08/2009 

Cancer treatment waiting times fall 

NHS Lanarkshire exceeding government targets 


“This is very positive news for the people of Lanarkshire and a reflection of the hard work carried out by the health board to improve waiting times,” Clinical head of cancer services Hakim Ben Younes  

Waiting times for cancer patients in Lanarkshire are among the lowest in Scotland - according to new Scottish Government figures.

Between January and March, 97.2 per cent of people in Lanarkshire, who were urgently referred, began their cancer treatment within 62 days – exceeding the target of 95 per cent.

This compares to the Scottish average figure of 96 per cent and the 96.4 per cent for West of Scotland health boards.

NHS Lanarkshire’s clinical head of cancer services, and consultant surgeon clinical head of cancer services, Mr Hakim Ben Younes hailed the figures as a reflection of the hard work being carried out within the health board.

He said: “These figures are very welcome and highlight the significant work carried out between different specialist areas involved in the treatment of types of cancer.

“This work has contributed to considerable improvements in the cancer patient’s journey, from diagnosis, then referral to treatment and in significantly reducing patient waiting times.

“The figures highlight that NHS Lanarkshire is matching and indeed exceeding the Scottish and the West of Scotland averages in achieving the 62 waiting day referral to treatment target in many cancers.

“This is very positive news for the people of Lanarkshire and a reflection of the hard work being carried out by the health board to improve waiting times.”

In total, NHS Lanarkshire met the Scottish Government 62 days target in eight types of cancers.

For seven types of cancer the health board’s figures are better than the national average.

One area to highlight in particular is in prostate cancer where the number of patients treated within the 62 day target has risen, from only 18 per cent in the first quarter of 2007, to 100 per cent in the first quarter of 2009.

This is a huge achievement especially as the numbers of patients have almost trebled.

Rosemary Lyness, NHS Lanarkshire’s director of acute services, said: “We have seen continual improvement within waiting times for all cancer patients in Lanarkshire, and these latest figures show that there has been a 38 per cent improvement in waiting times for urgent referrals since 2007.

“These improvements have been achieved through the remarkable efforts by all our staff across Lanarkshire and are a tribute to all their hard work.

“We will continue these efforts as we strive to further reduce waiting times for cancer patients.”