Cancer treatment waiting times – NHS Scotland 21% to 87% faster than non-Scottish parts of UK

From BBC UK tonight, put in order:

  1. In Scotland, the latest quarterly data shows that 75% of those referred started cancer treatment within 62 days – the worst figures since the standard was set in 2012. OMG! Maybe we shouldn’t read on?
  2. In England, in December 2022, 61.8% of patients started treatment within 62-days, up slightly from 61% the previous month.
  3. While in Wales, performance has deteriorated over the last year, with just over half of all patients now starting their first treatment within two months of cancer first being suspected.
  4. In Northern Ireland, just 40% of cancer patients started treatment within the 62 day target, in the three months to June 2022.

The above is analysed from the perspective of NHS England, with the following conclusion:

Other parts of the UK have been under similar pressure

On this measure, NHS Scotland outperforms NHS England by 21.3%, Wales by around 50% and Northern Ireland by 87%!!

BBC Scotland do not indulge in such comparisons as John Beattie says they’re just whataboutery.

They’ll just pick up on that bit about the Scottish figures being worse than the Scottish figures were back then and maybe find something to say about drug deaths or ferries.

Drug deaths on ferries breaking down would be nice, for them.



3 thoughts on “Cancer treatment waiting times – NHS Scotland 21% to 87% faster than non-Scottish parts of UK

  1. The report to BBC Health report to which you refer does say that the Scottish figures are the ‘worst since targets were set in 2012’. That is the BBC Scotland story. It is barely a week since Helen McArdle in the Herald was exulting at a decontextualised datum which indicated that by that Scotland’s performance was a scant 1/4 of England’s.


  2. O/T but still on Scotland’s health service.

    Blog post authors and btl contributors here on TuS have worked endlessly to provide context and perspective regarding the quality and performance – often best in the UK – of Scotland’s NHS.

    Many have worked hard to rebut Unionist media misrepresentation of the health service for which the Scottish Government is ultimately responsible.

    However, tonight during the STV leadership debate it kind of felt like ‘why bother?’ One of the SNP leadership candidates – Ms Forbes, a serving Cabinet Secretary – in a personal attack on the Cabinet Secretary for Health chose to deride the performance of NHS Scotland under his leadership. Candidly, it was like listening to an attack from Ross, Gulhane, Sarwar or Baillie.

    It was not only a lazy misrepresentation of Scotland’s NHS used for cheap, rhetorical effect, in its brutal negativity it was also disloyal to a colleague and to the Cabinet in which she still serves. All played out in full public view!

    The STV’s political pundits commenting afterwards on the show unsurprisingly pounced on Ms Forbes’ attack. They made the obvious point: they predicted the glee with which opposition parties will use her remarks against the Scottish Government – to quote her deriding its performance on health – in Holyrood and no doubt in election campaigning beyond.


    1. Absolutely stewart. Completely unnecessary. Still believe in what Cunninghame Graham said almost 90yrs ago. ” It won’t be the English who deny us our Independence, it will be the Scots”.


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