About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) highlights the publication of the National Colorectal Cancer Quality Performance Indicators in the Cancer QPIs dashboard, currently held within Discovery. Performance against a range of indicators developed by colorectal cancer specialists is reported. The information collected from clinical audits provides an opportunity to review NHSScotland performance against these measures.

Based on user engagement and stakeholder feedback, PHS will not be producing a written report or providing data tables for this publication. The indicators can be viewed via the Discovery dashboard or in already published regional reports.

Main points

  • There were 3,511 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Scotland in 2018/19. This is an increase on previous years (3,319 diagnosed in 2017/18 and 3,312 in 2016/17).
  • Performance against the colorectal cancer QPIs was high across Scotland with targets for 10 out of 13 indicators being met at a national level. It is encouraging that targets were met by all regions in all QPIs relating to radiological diagnosis, staging and pre-operative imaging, surgical performance and provision of adjuvant chemotherapy.
  • The target for patients who died within 30 days following elective surgery is less than 3%. Overall in Scotland, in each of the three years this was achieved. In 2018/19, the percentage of patients who died within 30 days of elective surgery was 0.9%.


National cancer quality performance indicators have been developed to support continuous quality improvement in cancer care. NHS Boards are required to report these indicators against a clinically agreed indicator specific target as part of the mandatory national cancer quality programme. They have been developed collaboratively by the North Cancer Alliance, South East Scotland Cancer Network, West of Scotland Cancer Network, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and PHS. At a recent meeting of clinicians, it was noted that while not all QPI measures were met, the results raised no concerns about the colorectal cancer services provided across Scotland. Clinical staff are currently reviewing the QPI definitions to help encourage further improvement in colorectal cancer services across Scotland.

Further information


  • To obtain access to the Cancer QPIs dashboard, please follow the link to the https://useraccess.nhsnss.scot.nhs.uk and select Discovery. You can also request access to the Scottish Cancer Registration and Intelligence Service (SCRIS) dashboard at the same time. Please note that the Cancer QPIs will be relocated within the SCRIS dashboard sometime during the next few months, thus bringing all the cancer data together in the one place.


  • For further information please refer to the West of Scotland Cancer Network (WoSCAN), South East Scotland Cancer Network (SCAN) and North Cancer Alliance (NCA) published reports.

The next release of this publication will be in June 2023.

Colorectal Cancer Indicators

  • Documents detailing the colorectal cancer indicators are available from Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Cancer Quality Performance Indicators

NHS Performs

A selection of information from this publication is included in NHS Performs. NHS Performs is a website that brings together a range of information on how hospitals and NHS Boards within NHSScotland are performing.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.cancerstats@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 28 June 2021
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