Health minister under fire

The Better Together panellists - Charles Ritchie, Richard Baker MSP and Ann Bell MBE - ahead of the referendum debate.
The Better Together panellists - Charles Ritchie, Richard Baker MSP and Ann Bell MBE - ahead of the referendum debate.

North East MSP Richard Baker criticised the Health Minister Alex Neil after key cancer waiting time targets were missed again.

This news comes only months after the Cabinet Secretary had highlighted investment to deal with the issue.

ISD Scotland figures for the latest quarter (April - June 2014) showed that NHS Grampian only started treatment for 89.7% of patients within 62 days when urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer, having managed only 85.6% and 92% in the two previous quarters. Both the 62 day target and 31 day were missed in Grampian.

Mr Baker said:“These figures make clear that the Scottish Government is letting down patients in Grampian with NHS Grampian still failing to meet Scottish Government waiting times targets on cancer treatment.

“It is clear the effect of being the lowest funded health board in Scotland is having in the North East with NHS Grampian being the worst performer against these targets.

“The Cabinet Secretary said earlier this year that NHS Grampian was investing £7 million to ensure waiting time targets were met in NHS Grampian.

“This is patently not enough and he needs to be held responsible for failures in our health service.

“Alex Neil must now realise that this situation is not going to be resolved without additional funding from the Scottish Government and a fair deal for our health board. The Cabinet Secretary must act and he must act now.”