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FOI request reveals delays to NHS Highlands cancer patients

By Tom Ramage

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Following the discovery of extensive delays to colorectal cancer patients in the Highlands back in June, Edward Mountain, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, submitted a FOI request to find out the full extent of the interruptions to lives of these patients.

Edward Mountain, MSP outside Raigmore Hospital. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Edward Mountain, MSP outside Raigmore Hospital. Picture: James Mackenzie.

The FOI request has revealed:

There were 80 patients who were on the waiting list at the time of the departure of the colorectal oncologist.

Out of these patients, 25 had their planned consultant appointment delayed and seven patients had a delay to their SACT (chemotherapy) treatment. Those seven patients had their treatment delayed by a week.

Although NHS Highland refused to give any opinion on the adverse effect this may have had on the patients, they did however acknowledge that “the patients suffered psychological stress caused by the uncertainty of the pause in their treatment and lack of clarity about when they would be seen.”

Mr Mountain is claiming the departure of the oncologist was incorrectly managed and as a result patients received less than optimal care.

He said this afternoon: “I know from personal experience how delays to treatment can affect patients and we need to do much better.”

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