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Cancer waiting times "encouraging"

Health boards in Scotland are making "encouraging" progress towards cutting waiting times for cancer treatment, according to health secretary Nicola Sturgeon.

She said that latest figures show that just over 87% of patients are now being treated within 62 days of urgent referral.

Back in May, she told health boards to move quickly to ensure that 95% of cancer patients were treated within this timescale, before the end of the year.

That target was originally set in 2005 but has not so far been reached.

But Ms Sturgeon said that latest quarterly figures, and weekly progress reports suggest the target will be finally achieved by the end of December.

The figures for the three months to June show 87.3% of patients were treated within the target time, up by 2.8% on the previous quarter and by 8.8% on a year ago.

Ms Sturgeon said: "The progress to the end of June is encouraging, and I know that from my conversations with board management over the past few months that they appear to be making progress towards our end of year target.

"But we will not be complacent. Cancer patients and their families would expect nothing less.

"They deserve the best treatment, appropriate to their needs, as quickly as possible, and that is what I have been driving boards to deliver."

NHS Scotland

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