More than 98% of cancer patients start treatment in 31 days

Line graph showing the percentage of patients that were treated within both the 31 and 62-day standards by quarter. Data for the 31 and 62-day standards are shown in different colours.

There are two targets for the treatment of cancer patients in Scotland. From NHS Scotland for the period 1st July to 30th September 2020 :

The 62-day standard states that 95% of eligible patients should wait a maximum of 62 days from urgent suspicion of cancer referral to first cancer treatment. 87.3% of patients started treatment within the 62-day standard, compared to 84.1% in the previous quarter, and 83.3% for quarter ending September 2019.

The 31-day standard states that 95% of all patients should wait no more than 31 days from decision to treat to first cancer treatment. 98.4% of patients started treatment within the 31-day standard, compared with 97.1% in the previous quarter and 95.8% in the quarter ending September 2019.

I am not competent to say if either of these targets is more important than the other but you can be sure that Reporting Scotland and the Herald will decide to report on the 62-day standard, if at all, and ignore the 31-day standard.

I offer balance.

4 thoughts on “More than 98% of cancer patients start treatment in 31 days

  1. Looking at the graphs, which indicate a very degree of target-accomplishment, there appears to be a very slight decline over the period covered.I wonder if this is due to the gradual increase in the proportion of people in the older age categories, and hence, with a greater likelihood to have symptoms of cancer? Another possibility is that testing due to increases in routine screening is identifying more people with symptoms. My own GP surgery has been checking me over, routinely, twice per year since I was 60, and, looking at the amount of information obtained, and the prompt responses to observed abnormalities, suggests that more is probably being identified now. Fortunately, in my own case, ‘abnormalities’ have been statistical ‘blips’, which have been dismissed after follow-up tests.

    Perhaps targets ought to be changed or priorities in testing. This would seem tome, to be a sensible way of using statistical data as a guide to practices. However, for the hyenas of the media individual decontextualised data become clubs to attack the NHS and the SG.

    Of course, the media want others to be ‘accountable’, but not themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

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