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NHS Scotland finally hits cancer target

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The NHS in Scotland has hit the Scottish government’s target to treat 95 per cent of urgently referred cancer patients within two months for the first time - four years behind schedule.

The figures show that between October and December 2008, 95.4 per cent of urgent cancer patients were treated within 62 days.

The target initially set in 2001 was originally due to be met in 2005. Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon praised the hard work of NHS staff but said the Scottish NHS still needed to ‘strive for further improvement within specific NHS boards and cancer types, and to ensure this achievement is sustained for the future.’

The Scottish government has set the NHS a further, more ambitious target to start treatment for all cancer patients within 31 days by December 2011.

‘A cancer diagnosis is always extremely worrying for patients and they deserve the shortest possible wait between a decision to treat and that treatment starting,’ Ms Sturgeon added.

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