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by Louise Wilson
30 June 2022
Nicola Sturgeon defends missed cancer treatment targets

PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Nicola Sturgeon defends missed cancer treatment targets

The First Minister has defended her government’s record on cancer waiting times after Labour’s Anas Sarwar highlighted the 62-day target from receipt of referral to treatment has been missed more than 3,000 times in the last year.

Nicola Sturgeon said the 31-day target from decision to treat until first treatment was being met, while the NHS had also increased the number of patients seen overall.

She added: “Once a decision to treat is made, patients wait on average four days to start treatment.”

But Sarwar highlighted that over 78,000 patients were waiting more than six weeks for diagnostic tests. This was up 76 per cent from a year ago, he added.

Sarwar accused the Scottish Government of putting its independence ambitions ahead of efforts to tackle cancer waiting times.

He said: “The recovery hasn’t even started yet. In fact, things have got worse. Instead, we’ve gone back to the divisive Nicola Sturgeon who is now spending seven days a week, sometimes what feels like 24 hours a day, focusing on what she cares about: breaking up our country and dividing our people.”

The First Minister highlighted there had been “further waves” of the Covid pandemic over the last year which had impacted waiting times.

She also said NHS Scotland had higher staffing levels and better pay offers than was the case in England.

She added: “To come on to Anas Sarwar’s political point, this is the point: he wants to back up the Conservatives. I want to free Scotland from the Conservatives.

“The worst thing that could ever happen to our NHS is to continue to have Conservative governments cutting the budget of this government and this parliament. That’s why having the powers of independence is good for the country, including our National Health Service.”

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