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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Health Secretary announces new £114.5 Cancer Recovery Plan

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP has announced the SNP Government’s new Cancer Recovery Plan, with investment of up to £114.5 million to ensure cancer patients continue to have equitable access to NHS Scotland care regardless of where they live.

The Cancer Recovery Plan will improve patients’ experience of care, and will roll-out innovative treatments - many of which have been expedited by the pandemic - to improve cancer services.

A total of 68 actions will be driven forward across five themes to both redesign cancer services and increase NHS Scotland’s overall resilience to any future rises in coronavirus (COVID-19) prevalence.

The actions will be rolled out before March 2023 and will include:

  • Two new Early Cancer Diagnostic Centres, established within the existing NHS infrastructure by Spring 2021

  • A programme of “Prehabilitation” helping patients prepare for treatment

  • A single point of contact for cancer patients to support them throughout their diagnosis and treatment

  • A resource dedicated to the national oversight of clinical management guidelines

Ms Freeman said:

“Throughout the pandemic, NHS Scotland has remained open, continuing to provide emergency and urgent cancer care, as well as maintaining COVID-19 capacity and resilience.

“Many innovative approaches adopted during the COVID-19 response will be maintained as part of the Cancer Recovery Plan, including the use of video technology, national approaches to prioritisation, innovative diagnostic techniques, timely triaging, and quicker decision making in regards to new treatment options.

“The Plan will continue the momentum of these approaches to service improvement and re-design, ensuring cancer patients have access to the best available treatment and care across Scotland.”

Chair of the Scottish Cancer Coalition and Head of External Affairs for Scotland at Bowel Cancer UK Claire Donaghy said:

“Every member of the Scottish Cancer Coalition has seen first-hand the significant impact COVID-19 has had on cancer services in Scotland, and we are pleased that ‘Recovery and Redesign: An action plan for cancer services’ has been published.

“The Scottish Government clearly recognises the crucial role the third sector has in supporting cancer patients, and we welcomed the opportunity to input into the development of the plan.”

Kenneth Gibson MSP added:

“While COVID-19 continues to exert pressure on our NHS, this is a most welcome development.

“It was necessary to take time to consider the views and experiences of patients and their families and those of a number of stakeholders, from the Scottish Cancer Coalition, including Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, to the Less Survivable Cancer Taskforce.

“This had led to a robust programme, backed up by the appropriate level of investment from the SNP Government. I know it will make a difference to patients across North Ayrshire and their families.”

The 68 actions in the plan will focus on five themes: Patient & Family Support, Detection & Diagnosis, Treatment, Workforce and Governance & System Support.

The Cancer Recovery Plan will be delivered with oversight from the National Cancer Recovery Group, co-chaired by Professor Aileen Keel and NHS Tayside Chief Executive Grant Archibald, and is aligned to the NHS Remobilise, Recover and Re-design Framework.

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