17 Oct 2018

Last week, John met with the Cancer Research UK team at the SNP party conference in Glasgow to learn about the charity’s priorities for beating cancer sooner in Scotland.


John said: “Cancer has a huge impact on people and their families in Glasgow Shettleston Constituency, so it has been a fantastic opportunity to meet with Cancer Research UK staff to learn more about their priorities and how early diagnosis saves lives.”



He heard about Cancer Research UK’s latest campaign, which highlights the need for action to address shortages in the diagnostic workforce in Scotland. Cancer Research UK is calling on the Scottish Government to take a strategic approach to workforce planning to ensure we have a service that meets patient demand.


Early diagnosis is vital. If someone’s cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, then it is more likely that that person will survive. For some of the most common types of cancer, survival is more than three times higher when the disease is diagnosed at its earliest stages.


However, only 78.7% of patients received the diagnostic tests they needed within six weeks in the quarter ending 30 June 2018.* The target is that no one should be waiting longer than six weeks for a test. This means that more than 18,500 patients in Scotland waited more than the target time of six weeks to receive a diagnostic test.


By 2035, more than 40,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer every year across Scotland, an increase of more than 8,000 people on 2015 levels.** More staff are urgently needed to keep up with the demand for life-saving tests and treatments, yet currently 1 in 10 NHS diagnostic posts are unfilled.***


Gregor McNie, Head of External Affairs at Cancer Research UK, said: “Healthcare staff in Scotland are working harder than ever to diagnose and treat people with cancer.”


“But the NHS in Scotland does not have enough staff to be as effective as possible in diagnosing cancer.”


“The Scottish Government has taken some very welcome steps to address these issues, such as a recent international recruitment drive to increase the number of radiologists and its Endoscopy Action Plan. But broader, long-term action is needed.”


“Cancer Research UK is calling on the Scottish Government to take these specific actions to accelerate progress towards 3 in 4 people surviving their cancer by 2034.”