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Scottish cancer referral rates improving

An increasing number of cancer patients are being treated within target waiting times in Scotland although provision is not consistent across the country, figures have revealed.

Overall, 94.6% of patients began their treatment within 62 days of being urgently referred between July and September last year. This was the highest proportion ever, just short of the 95% target set in 2000, and a rise from the previous quarter's total of 93.5%.

This compares with 91.6% of patients who received treated within the target time in the same period the previous year.

In NHS Lothian 98.1% of all patients began treatment within 62 days, compared with just 84.1% in NHS Dumfries and Galloway - the worst-performing mainland health board.

This year, nine of Scotland's 14 NHS boards met the target between July and September, demonstrating "substantial progress", according to health secretary Nicola Sturgeon.

She said: "It is very welcome to see that the majority of patients diagnosed with cancer who were urgently referred are rightly starting their treatment within two months."

The figures show a variation in treatment of different types of cancer - 98.4% of breast cancer patients began their treatment within 62 days of urgent referral whereas just 84.4% of lymphoma patients were treated within the target time.

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