Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has said that waiting times for key diagnostic tests for conditions such as cancer are unacceptable and that they risk a tidal wave of future health problems. This comes as new figures reveal thousands of people are waiting far longer than they should.
New data published today from Public Health Scotland shows that at 30 September 2020, 46.7% of patients were waiting over the target six weeks – more than double the 17.7% waiting this long at the same point last year. A standard waiting time of six weeks was set by the Scottish Government in 2009 for diagnostic tests such as CT and MRI scans to aid early detection of conditions like cancer or brain tumours.
In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, as of 30 September 2020, 67.3% of patients had to wait over six weeks for an endoscopy test and 33.2% of endoscopy patients were left waiting for over 26 weeks.
Similarly, 39.5% of patients were forced to wait more than six weeks for a radiology test with 4.3% waiting over 26 weeks.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“This data is especially concerning given the statistics from before the pandemic showing cancer patients from deprived areas were less likely to be diagnosed in the early stages of the disease.
“It is a well-known fact that patients have the best chance of beating illnesses like cancer when it is caught as earlier as possible.
“We need routine testing for all healthcare workers, which the Scottish Government is still not doing, and measures put in place to maintain Covid safe spaces in our hospitals, allowing the resumption of services.
“Scotland is facing a tidal wave of health problems and the SNP government must urgently start giving our NHS the support it needs in order to prevent further unnecessary deaths.”