We have a new website go to gov.scot

Current Status

In October - December 2011 96.9 per cent of patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer began treatment within 62 days of their referral.

In October - December 2011 98.2 per cent of patients diagnosed with cancer started treatment within 31 days of their decision to treat.

HEAT Target

From the quarter ending December 2011, 95 per cent of all patients diagnosed with cancer to begin treatment within 31 days of decision to treat, and 95 per cent of those referred urgently with a suspicion of cancer to begin treatment within 62 days of receipt of referral.

A: Cancer waiting times

Why is this HEAT target important?

The time from when a suspicion of cancer is raised is a particularly distressing and anxious time for both the patient and their family. The 62-day target intends to ensure that these patients are prioritised to receive the tests and procedures they need to confirm or eliminate cancer as quickly as possible, and if cancer is diagnosed to begin treatment as soon as possible.

Around half of all patients diagnosed with cancer in NHSScotland enter the secondary care system with symptoms not suspicious of cancer. While Health Boards are encouraged to prioritise diagnosing patients who are suspected of having cancer, it is important that all patients start their treatment as soon as possible after their cancer is diagnosed and a decision to treat is reached with the patient, in order that healthcare experience and outcomes are improved. The 31-day target focuses on this cohort of patients.

The overall aim is to support continual improvement in cancer control and quality of cancer care.

How are we performing?

Targets due for delivery by December 2011

62-day referral to treatment

The target is to achieve 95 per cent of patients diagnosed with cancer starting treatment within 62 days of urgent referral with a suspicion of cancer or referral through A&E.

In October - December 2011 96.9 per cent of patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer began treatment within 62 days of their referral.

Percentage of patients starting treatment within 62-days of urgent referral with a suspicion of cancer, by NHS Board, quarters ending June 2011, September 2011 and December 2011.

NHS Board Quarter ending Jun 2011 Quarter ending Sep 2011 Quarter ending Dec 2011
NHS AYRSHIRE & ARRAN 96.8 96.6 97.3
NHS BORDERS 100.0 98.6 96.7
NHS DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY 97.5 98.1 100.0
NHS FIFE 93.9 94.0 94.5
NHS FORTH VALLEY 95.7 95.9 95.9
NHS GRAMPIAN 88.1 91.3 92.2
NHS GREATER GLASGOW & CLYDE 96.0 97.5 97.0
NHS HIGHLAND 93.0 97.7 96.1
NHS LANARKSHIRE 96.6 97.7 99.3
NHS LOTHIAN 98.4 97.8 98.5
NHS ORKNEY 100.0 75.0 100.0
NHS SHETLAND 100.0 100.0 94.4
NHS TAYSIDE 97.2 98.0 96.6
NHS WESTERN ISLES 100.0 100.0 100.0
NHSSCOTLAND 95.6 96.7 96.9

The target is to achieve 95 per cent by October-December 2011 at NHSScotland level, however each NHS Board has also committed to reach 95 per cent by October-December 2011 in their Local Delivery Plans.

31-day decision to treat to first treatment

The target is to achieve 95 per cent of patients diagnosed with cancer starting treatment within 31 days of their decision to treat. This is the first cancer target that covers all referral types.

In October - December 2011 98.2 per cent of patients diagnosed with cancer started treatment within 31 days of their decision to treat.

Percentage of cancer patients starting treatment within 31-days of decision to treat, by NHS Board, quarters ending June 2011, September 2011, and December 2011.

NHS Board Quarter ending Jun 2011 Quarter ending Sep 2011 Quarter ending Dec 2011
NHS AYRSHIRE & ARRAN 99.1 100.0 98.8
NHS BORDERS 100.0 100.0 100.0
NHS DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY 99.2 98.6 100.0
NHS FIFE 97.6 97.6 98.9
NHS FORTH VALLEY 95.1 95.0 95.1
NHS GRAMPIAN 93.8 95.4 93.9
NHS GREATER GLASGOW & CLYDE 97.7 98.0 98.4
NHS HIGHLAND 94.9 95.1 97.6
NHS LANARKSHIRE 98.3 99.5 98.2
NHS LOTHIAN 99.0 98.8 99.5
NHS ORKNEY 100.0 100.0 100.0
NHS SHETLAND 100.0 100.0 100.0
NHS TAYSIDE 97.5 98.3 98.5
NHS WESTERN ISLES 100.0 100.0 100.0
NHS NATIONAL WAITING TIMES CENTRE 100.0 100.0 100.0
NHSSCOTLAND 97.5 98.0 98.2

The target is to achieve 95 per cent by October-December 2011 at NHSScotland level, however each NHS Board has also committed to reach 95 per cent by October-December 2011 in their Local Delivery Plans.

Further Information

Better Cancer Care - An Action Plan

Cancer Waiting Times statistics

Cancer Incidence statistics

Related National Outcomes