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Scotland hits cancer care targets

The number of cancer patients in Scotland receiving treatment within two months of being diagnosed has reached its highest figure, according to statistics.

The key target of having 95% of urgently referred patients begin treatment within 62 days had been met for the first time. In the period from October to December last year, 95.4% of patients commenced treatment within the time. The target has now been met for 2,259 of the 2,354 urgently referred cancer patients over the three-month period.

"This is NHS Scotland's best ever performance against the 62-day cancer waiting times target," said Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon. "The challenge now is to continue this achievement and to strive for further improvements within specific NHS boards and cancer types."

However, the figures vary depending on the area and the type of cancer. The NHS Grampian area managed to treat 94% of patients within two months, compared to a rate of 98.1% in the NHS Border area. Only 89.3% of head and neck cancer sufferers began treatment within the time limit, compared to 98.9% of breast cancer patients.

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NHS Grampian