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Isles health board meets cancer treatment target

NHS chief executive Ralph Roberts

SHETLAND has defied a national trend of worsening cancer waiting times with 100 per cent of patients being treated within targets, the latest quarterly information shows.

According to the NHS information services, Shetland was only one of four health boards in Scotland to have met a 95 per cent target for patients receiving treatment within 62 days of referral in the first quarter of 2018.

Every one of the 18 people in Shetland referred were treated within 62 days. The other boards to meet their targets Lanarkshire and Borders while the national average was only 85 per cent – down from the preceding two months and part of a decline that has continued since 2012.

NHS Shetland chief executive Ralph Roberts said: “I can confirm that we are delighted that the information published yesterday showed that NHS Shetland had again performed extremely well in delivering access to cancer diagnosis and treatment in the first quarter of 2018.

“We know that a potential cancer diagnosis is an extremely worrying time for patients and their families and it is therefore important that they are able to access services quickly. We work closely with colleagues in Aberdeen to provide services and the delivery of this performance reflects the hard work of staff across our services.

“I also accept that the relative number of patients concerned is small and that our relative percentage performance can sometimes be affected by variation because of these small numbers but on this occasion it is very positive that all our patients met the cancer targets.”

Shetland was also among 10 councils to meet a “31 day” target where 95 per cent of patients should be treated no more than 31 days after the decision to treat is made.