Yesterday in the Scottish Parliament, Finlay Carson MSP urged the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Shona Robison, to review referral pathways for cancer patients.
Currently, patients wishing to use patient transport in Stranraer have to travel to Edinburgh via Dumfries rather than to cancer services in Glasgow. This not only means longer travelling times; a study carried out by a number of Doctors in Wigtownshire pointed to rise in cancer mortality in rural patients as result of an increased travel burden.
Carson pointed out to the Health Secretary that the arrangements being used for cancer patients date back 25 years and were, at the time, a pragmatic approach to a shortfall in services. He went on to say that this was no longer the case and pressed the Cabinet Secretary to liaise with health boards so that patients receive their treatment as close to home as possible.
In her answer to Mr Carson, Ms Robison claimed that Dumfries and Galloway Health Board were already planning to carry out a review of referral pathways and pledged to keep in contact with him on this important issue.
Mr Carson encouraged his constituents to make a contribution. He said: “I welcome the news that Dumfries and Galloway Health Board are intending to carry out a review of referral pathways, and I look forward to the details of this review coming forward. The current arrangements are outdated and it is absurd that cancer patients have no choice as to where they receive treatment. Going through cancer is already traumatic enough without having to travel extra distances to receive treatment. I hope people take the opportunity to feed their thoughts into the review and that way we will see an end to unnecessary travel through improved treatment pathways”.