The SNP Health Minister is ‘missing in action’ despite the ongoing crisis in our NHS, Jackie Baillie has said today.


Statistics published this morning have shown that between 1st April and 30th June 2021, the target for 95% of those urgently referred on suspicion of cancer to start treatment within 62 days was badly missed with only 84.1% of patients starting treatment within the target time. The 62 day target has not been met since 2012.


These statistics also show that not one single health board met the 62 day standard during this most recent quarter and that some 629 people have waited over the 62 days for treatment.


In terms of the cervical screening programme, only 72.7% of referrals started treatment within 62 days of referral.


For those referred from the colorectal screening programme, only some 66.5% started treatment within 62 days.


The statistics also show that A&E waiting times remain in disarray with only 74.4% of attendances seen in four hours and 341 patients spending more than 12 hours in an A&E department during the week ending 19th September.


With the majority of NHS health boards cancelling elective procedures over recent weeks, including NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS Lanarkshire cancelling life-saving cancer surgery, the need for action is greater than ever.


Commenting, Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:


“Our NHS is in disarray, cancer services are in crisis and our A&E departments are overwhelmed, but the Health Minister is missing in action.


“We simply cannot have health boards being forced to cancel procedures due to lack of support.


“These long waits for cancer services risk a ticking time bomb of cancer deaths. There can be no time to delay.


“Our A&E services remain overwhelmed with thousands of Scots waiting too long to be seen.


“The Health Secretary must wake up to the crisis unfolding on his watch and act to support services and keep the people of Scotland safe.”


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