Scottish government launches new £100m cancer strategy
The Scottish government has launched a new £100m strategy to tackle cancer.
The new initiative aims to improve prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and aftercare for cancer patients in Scotland.
An action plan covering the next five to ten years has been drawn up, including funding for new equipment.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said the strategy was "a blueprint for the future of cancer services in Scotland".
The Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action plan lists more than 50 steps being taken, including £50m towards radiotherapy equipment and support for staff recruitment and training.
It will also see £9m spent over five years to improve support for cancer patients and their families through link workers and charity groups, and £7.5m for improvements in surgical treatments.
Diagnosis is also being targeted, with £5m to reduce inequalities in screening uptake and £10m to support quick access to diagnostics for people who suspect they have cancer.
Ms Robison said: "Cancer services have come a long way over the past ten years, with cancer mortality rates down 11%, however we know more needs to be done.
"Through this strategy we are aiming to reduce health inequalities and improve the experience of and outcomes for people with cancer across Scotland.
"A cancer diagnosis is a daunting prospect for those affected and their families, which is why it is vital that we support people throughout their journey, right from detection through to aftercare."
The plan was welcomed by a wide range of cancer research and support groups.
Gregor McNie of Cancer Research UK said: "The continued focus on early diagnosis is vital - funds to make sure all patients get the diagnostic tests they need should ensure they are treated without delay.
"Overall, the commitments outlined in this strategy are good news for patients, and we'll closely monitor their implementation to make sure they become a reality."
Janice Preston of Macmillan Cancer Support said: "We urgently need cancer support to be built around the needs of the individual, and look forward to working with the Scottish government to look in detail at how the ambitious measures outlined in the plan will be achieved.
Scottish Labour also welcomed the Scottish government taking "action on cancer", but equality spokeswoman Jenny Marra said the plans had been "delayed by over a year".
She said: "The facts show that the performance of the government on cancer simply has not been good enough. We have seen declining performance on cancer waiting times, worrying trends in screening and diagnosis, especially in poorer areas.
"While we welcome many of the initiatives in this report, there is little here to address the underlying issues of public health, and health inequalities, both of which are directly linked to cancer."