What will the SNP do to help people affected by Cancer?
Over its first term in office, the SNP Government made rapid progress towards our commitment that, by 2011, 95% of patients referred with suspicion of cancer should begin treatment within 62 days.
This target was introduced in 2001, but was never met by the Labour-led coalition.
The target was met at the end of 2008 and has been met every quarter since.
The average waiting time has been reduced to 35 days, meaning that most patients are treated within just 6 weeks. We will implement one-stop shop cancer diagnosis centres to bring down waiting times even further.
More can still be done and we are working to achieve the ambitious goal of starting treatment for all cancer patients within 31 days of the decision to treat.
The SNP retained and enhanced children’s cancer services across Scotland. We are investing an additional £32 million to implement the National Delivery Plan, improving access to specialist services for children and young people. This will ensure that care is better, quicker, safer, and closer to home.
The improvement since the SNP took office in May 2007 shows how seriously we take this issue, and we will continue to do so.
Finally, Nicola Sturgeon very recently announced a new national £30m initiative – Detect Cancer Early – through which we aim to detect 25% more cancers in the first stage.
This initiative is important because the UK as a whole lags behind other European countries in cancer survival. We therefore must try to step up the detection of as many cancers as early as possible.
This initiative could save more than 300 lives every year, and will start with the three big cancers – lung cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
Despite the cuts being inflicted on Scotland by the Westminster Government, a re-elected SNP Government will ensure that Scotland’s NHS, and cancer services in particular, remains a top priority.