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Cancer waits in Scotland worst on record

Critics condemn latest figures as a ‘national scandal’

Failures to meet cancer waiting time targets in Scotland are the worst on record, figures show.

Between January and March, 85% of patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer started treatment within the 62-day standard, falling short of the 95% target.

The figure was down from 87.1% in the previous quarter and from 88.1% in the same period the previous year.

A total of 93.5% of patients waited no more than 31 days from the decision to treat to the first cancer treatment, below the 95% target, according to the figures reported by The Times.

Gordon McLean, of Macmillan Cancer Support, said there is an urgent need for health boards across Scotland to learn from the areas where targets are being met.

Anas Sarwar, health spokesman for Scottish Labour, added: “Having thousands of people wait too long is a national scandal.”

Before stepping down as Health Secretary, Shona Robison said: “Boards have given me reassurance that cancer patients continue to be prioritised. However, performance is simply not good enough in an area of high clinical priority.”