THE proportion of suspected cancer patients waiting longer than the two-month target for treatment has hit a record high, new figures show.

Across Scotland, more than 15 per cent of patients urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer waited longer than the 62-day maximum for their first treatment between April and June 2018. In respect to NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGGC), more than 21 per cent of patients failed to be treated in that time.

Across Scotland, a total of 84.6 per cent of patients started treatment within the target time, the lowest since they were brought in by the Scottish Government in 2012, and a marginal drop on the 85 per cent the previous quarter.

More than three quarters of health boards missed the 95 per cent target, including NHSGGC at just 78.9 per cent. Shetland was the lowest at 66.7 per cent.

Only three health boards passed the target – Dumfries and Galloway at 95.3 per cent, Lanarkshire at 96.7 per cent and Western Isles at 100 per cent.

Across the country, the percentage of women referred from cervical screening starting treatment within the target time fell 20 per cent to 60 per cent between April and June and the previous quarter.

The number of breast cancer patients with a positive screening result who started treatment within the target time also fell, from 94.6 per cent to 90.5 per cent.

However, progress was made on a second target of 31-days between a decision to treat and the first cancer treatment, with 95 per cent target met between April and June 2018.

The average rate was up from 93.5 per cent the previous quarter and the target was met by 11 of 15 health boards.

Although NHSGGC averaged at 94.2 per cent over the three months, the health board exceeded the target in May and June.

A spokesperson from NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde said: "We had been working to achieve the 31-day target by June 2018 and this was delivered earlier than anticipated exceeding the target in both May and June.

"To ensure the delivery of the 62-day target we have introduced a number of specific measures and improvements to achieve this within the next quarter.

"This includes six new breast service advance nurse practitioners who took up post at the end of August, and a locum breast surgeon has been appointed pending the recruitment of a substantive consultant for the Clyde sector.

"New clinical pathways across NHSGGC are being developed and will reflect national best practice across all cancer types.

"We recognise how important this is for our patients and all of these measures will help us to improve our cancer waiting times performance for them."