A number of NHS hospital trusts in Scotland are putting women’s lives at risk by failing to follow guidelines on the effective treatment of ovarian cancer.
An independent study by the Accounts Commission, equivalent to the Audit Commission in England, found nine out of 26 health trusts had failed to implement the recommendation that, on suspicion of the disease, patients should be referred immediately to a specialist gynaecologist.
The study also discovered that only 16 trusts have executed the proposal which suggests that, following surgery, patients should be directed to a combined gynaecology and oncology unit where they will be cared for by experts.
The authors of the study describe survival reports of ovarian cancer in Scotland as “poor”. Less than 30% of women live beyond five years of diagnosis, compared with Switzerland’s record of 38% and 36% in Finland.
Both BUPA and PPP said this report should not be used for scaremongering the general public, as this was a fruitless endeavour.
Instead both organisations said attention should be focused on raising people’s awareness of the need for screening, and that the study gave an opportunity to raise issues about the treatment of cancer.