About this release
This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) presents the quarterly update of Cancer Waiting Times statistics, reporting two National Standards on how long patients waited for their first cancer treatment. This release covers patients who started their first treatment by quarter ending 31 December 2021.
The 62-day standard states that 95% of eligible patients should wait a maximum of 62 days from urgent suspicion of cancer referral to first cancer treatment.
- There were 4,144 eligible referrals for the 62-day standard, an increase of 3.3% from the previous quarter, and 18.3% increase compared with quarter ending 31 December 2020.
- 79% of patients started treatment within the 62-day standard, compared to 83.3% in the previous quarter and 86.2% for quarter ending 31 December 2020.
The 31-day standard states that 95% of all patients should wait no more than 31 days from decision to treat to first cancer treatment.
- There were 6,388 eligible referrals within the 31-day standard, an increase of 0.9% from the previous quarter, and 11.8% increase compared with quarter ending 31 December 2020.
- 97.1% of patients started treatment within the 31-day standard, compared to 97% in the previous quarter and 98.6% for quarter ending 31 December 2020.
The 62-day standard was not met by any of the NHS Boards. The 31-day standard was met by all boards except NHS Grampian and NHS Highland.
Current standards for cancer waiting times are that 95% of all eligible patients should wait no longer than 31 or 62 days Action Plan (external website), with a 5% tolerance level due to clinical appropriateness. PHS works in partnership with the Scottish Government Cancer Access Team and NHS boards to monitor NHS Scotland’s performance against these National Standards for 10 main cancers.
The 62-day standard applies to patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer by a primary care clinician, general dental physician, patients referred by one of the national cancer screening programmes, and direct referrals to hospital where the signs and symptoms are consistent with the cancer diagnosed, as per the Scottish Referral Guidelines e.g. self-referral to A&E.
The 31-day standard applies to all patients, regardless of the route of referral.
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the results, some boards have highlighted that staffing and capacity issues continue to impact on performance in the latest quarter.
Find out more
The next release of this publication will be 28 June 2022.
A selection of information from this publication is included in NHS Performs (external website). NHS Performs is a website that brings together a range of information on how hospitals and NHS boards within NHSScotland are performing.
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