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Cancer waiting time targets missed

New figures have shown that the NHS in Scotland is failing to hit waiting time targets for cancer treatment.

A target set in 2001, stating that by 2005, 95% of cancer patients should be treated within 62 days of urgent referral, has never been achieved. And quarterly figures just released show that the country's health service is still falling short.

A total of 94.1% of patients across Scotland were treated within this timescale, compared with 93.6% in the previous quarter.

But the Scottish government highlighted continuing improvements and said that if just 20 more patients had been treated within the deadline, the target would have been achieved. Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon called for health boards to make "one last push" to hit the target.

The figures show big variations in waiting times across Scotland, and for different types of cancers.

Orkney and the Western Isles had 100% compliance rates, while Shetland fell furthest short of the target at 87%.5% - but only because it failed to treat one patient within 62 days.

The cancers with the highest and lowest proportions being treated within the target time were ovarian cancers (100%) and lymphoma (89.4%)

Across Scotland, there were 2,313 urgent referrals, of which 2,177 were treated within 62 days.

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