MSP warns of a 'cancer crisis'

South Scotland list MSP Colin Smyth has warned of acancer care crisis and demanded urgent action to tackle the backlog.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 1:45 pm
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 1:45 pm
South Scotland list MSP Colin Smyth

The warning comes as new statistics published by Public Health Scotland show cancer incidence was on the rise even before then pandemic began.

The figures, which look at all cancer types, reveal there was an increase of 13 per cent in both the Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway health board areas between 2009 and 2019.

In Lanarkshire there were 3,639 cases in 2009 and 4,102 in 2019, while in Dumfries and Galloway there were 1,036 in 2009 and 1,168 in 2019.

Mr Smyth said: “We are facing a cancer care crisis due to the pandemic and with incidence on the rise, thousands of Scots are now in a race against time to get treatment.

“It is the duty of the Scottish Government to pull out all the stops to ensure that people get the treatment that they need.

“During the election campaign Labour highlighted the need for action to fix the cancer crisis and just because polling day is behind us, it won’t stop us demanding that.

"Cancer care must be put at the heart of a recovery plan, we need to see diagnostics and screening efforts ramped up.

“Anything short of immediate and proportionate action to tackle the cancer care crisis is playing fast and loose with the lives of Scots."

Elsewhere in the South Scotland region Borders saw a 13 per cent rise in cancer incidence, Ayrshire and Annan eight per cent, and Lothian five per cent.