HEALTH chiefs insist they are “working hard to improve performance” after missing cancer treatment targets.

Top brass at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) have come under fire after falling short of ensuring 95 per cent of patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer were treated within 62 days.

The figures for October to December of last year showed the 62-day standard was met by NHS Lanarkshire alone.

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Gregor McNie, Cancer Research UK’s head of external affairs in Scotland, has expressed concerns about the performance of other health boards.

He said: “These figures show a service under huge strain, with too many patients waiting too long.

“Early diagnosis and prompt treatment delivers much better results for patients and yet cancer waiting time targets in Scotland are routinely missed.

“There are already shortages among key staff such as endoscopists and radiologists.

“If the NHS is to meet increasing demand, as well as diagnose as many patients as early as possible, the Scottish Government must plan to meet current and future need.

“New ways of organising services are needed, along with new investment which must reach the frontline without delay.”

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However, a spokeswoman for NHSGGC, which provides health services across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, pointed to its recruitment as evidence it is working to address the situation.

She said: “We are working hard to improve performance for all our patients affected by cancer in the diagnostic and treatment stages.

“We treat a significant number of cancer patients every year and see a range of complex cases from across the west of Scotland.

“As part of our work to boost performance, late last year we appointed a new locum breast surgeon, as well as six new breast service advance nurse practitioners.

“The board has also approved work to develop an innovative new model aiming to treat cancer patients in, or closer to, their homes.

“The aim is that this will also help to reduce waiting times.”