The Scottish Government have announced urgent action to cut the number of people across Scotland waiting for tests that could diagnose bowel cancer by 20 per cent by the end of September 2018.
Health Secretary Shona Robison has committed an additional £6 million to help health boards deliver endoscopies to 2500 people by September. She has also announced a National Endoscopy Action Plan, with total funding of £14 million, to ensure that those who have been waiting longer than six weeks are seen as a matter of urgency.
Last month, the charity highlighted that 66% of Health Boards (as at 31 March this year) were in breach of the national waiting time standard of less than 5% of patients waiting longer than six weeks for tests that could diagnose bowel cancer.
In some Health Boards like NHS Lothian more than a half of patients (56%) are waiting more than six weeks for a colonoscopy appointment and one in seven patients (70%) are waiting more than six weeks for flexible sigmoidoscopy appointment, as at 31 March 2018.
Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer, says: “We warmly welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to addressing current workforce and delivery issues for endoscopy services through the new action plan and look forward to reviewing it in detail. Nearly everyone survives bowel cancer if it is detected early but this drops significantly as the disease progresses. It is therefore essential that people gain timely access to endoscopy tests, such as a colonoscopy, so that bowel cancer can be detected quickly or ruled out.
“We look forward to working closely with the Scottish Government on the implementation of the new endoscopy action plan and to support the work of the new Clinical Diagnostic Lead to ensure timely high quality care for all patients across Scotland.”