Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has called on the Scottish Government to act urgently to tackle the waiting times for diagnostic tests.
During Frist Minister’s Questions, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar revealed that nearly 45,000 people are waiting more than the six-week standard for vital tests to diagnose conditions such as cancer.
Analysis by Scottish Labour shows that the number has more than doubled in a year – up by 148 per cent since 2019.
Jackie Baillie has said that the government focus must be on recovery and a catch-up plan for our NHS so that we never again have to choose between treating a virus or treating cancer.
The new figures come after it emerged that 7,000 fewer people had a confirmed cancer diagnosis in the first eight months of the pandemic.
It was revealed that the Scottish Government has not met the 62-day cancer waiting time since 2012, Jackie Baillie has called for a full restart of cancer services in Scotland.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“A year ago saw the first Covid death in Scotland, and the pandemic has had a devastating knock-on impact on our NHS.
“But cancer has not gone away, meaning thousands of Scots don’t know they have cancer and they aren’t receiving treatment.
“We need to fully restart cancer services in Scotland, begin a catch-up programme, and find the missing 7,000 patients.
“Early diagnosis is vital – it is what saves lives, not just for cancer but for other conditions too.
“Covid has placed a huge strain on our NHS and put even more pressure on an already overstretched workforce.
“But Covid didn’t create this problem; it has made a bad situation worse. I know of many local people who have waited far too long for vital tests, which not only threatens their physical health but has a huge impact on mental health and anxiety too.
“We can’t come through Covid and go back to the old arguments. Instead, we should focus on what unites us as a country, not what divides us, with a recovery and a catch-up plan for our NHS – so that we never again have to choose between treating a virus or treating cancer.”