Jackie Baillie has warned that government failure is undermining vital cancer screening programmes, as a new report reveals vast health inequalities and growing waits with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde performing poorly.

A report on the Scottish bowel cancer screening programme revealed soaring waiting times for colonoscopies, with just 31 percent of people being seen within four weeks of their positive referral, and 34 percent waiting more than eight weeks. The picture across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which includes Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven and Balloch, was worse with more than three quarters (77 percent) having to wait longer than eight weeks for the follow-up test.

Uptake of bowel screening was also lowest in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde with less than two thirds of people (62.4 percent) completing their tests.

The report highlights that areas of deprivation, including West Dunbartonshire, tend to have lower uptake compared with more affluent areas.

The vast gulf between the response rate in the most and least deprived areas is shown to be widening slightly, with an uptake rate of just 54 percent in the most deprived areas compared to 74 percent in the least deprived.

Dumbarton constituency MSP Jackie Baillie said: “The SNP’s disastrous failures are undermining vital cancer screening programmes and creating a ticking time bomb.

“These screenings are more essential than ever in the aftermath of the pandemic – but waiting times are soaring and health inequalities are growing. The figures are worst across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which includes Dumbarton constituency, when it comes to both screening and follow-up colonoscopies. This is adding to the poorer life expectancy here compared to elsewhere.

“Behind these figures are people who are diagnosed later with much poorer outcomes. This has to be addressed.

“Humza Yousaf needs to get a grip of the chaos he has let engulf our health service and focus on reaching the poorest communities and tackling these scandalous waiting times.”

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