On Tuesday 15 March the Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison launched the long awaited new Cancer Strategy for Scotland. The document titled ‘Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action’ will serve as the future blueprint for cancer care in Scotland over the next five to ten years. The strategy contains more than 50 actions with a £100 million commitment from the Scottish Government attached to it.
The plan includes the following commitments:
£50 million for radiotherapy equipment and to support radiotherapy recruitment and training
- £9 million over five years to ensure better support for people with cancer and their families, for example, through Link Workers and other initiatives like Macmillan’s Improving the Cancer Journey
- £5 million to target reducing inequalities in screening uptake
- £7.5 million to support improvements in surgical treatments
- An additional £10 million to support swift access to diagnostics for people with suspected cancer
- £3.5 million to drive improvements across the palliative care sector and to support targeted action on training and education
- £5 million to support waiting times performance
- £1m towards evaluating the effectiveness of drugs on patients in a real-life setting
A point of particular interest to the blood cancer community is the commitment of £2.5m towards improving outcomes for children and young people, which will be given to the Managed Service Network for Children and Young People with Cancer (MSN CYPC), who lead on child cancer care in Scotland.
Cathy Gilman, Chief Executive, Bloodwise said: “Bloodwise welcomes the new strategy and look forward to working with our Scottish partners and supporters to making this plan a reality for all blood cancer patients in Scotland.
With leukaemia being the most common cancer in Scottish children, we are particularly pleased to see a significant financial commitment made by the Scottish Government to improving cancer services for children in Scotland, ensuring every child receives age appropriate care and a key worker along the care pathway.”
Bloodwise also welcomes the ambition of the Scottish Government to put the necessary levels of training in place to ensure that by 2021, all cancer patients who require it, will have access to a specialist nurse during and after their treatment and care. This is particularly important in light of our recent findings which show that across the UK almost 1 in 5 leukaemia patients have no clinical nurse specialist (CNS) to support them. You can ead more about our findings on patients' access to specialist care here: https://bloodwise.org.uk/blog/thousands-blood-cancer-patients-denied-essential-care-every-year-uk
However, in Scotland, like in the rest of UK, governments, industry, charities and the NHS need to do more to make new cancer treatments more affordable and more accessible to patients.