SOME cancer patients in Scotland are waiting more than 300 days to start treatment, according to new figures on maximum waiting times.

In Greater Glasgow and Clyde, one patient reportedly waited 315 days this year between referral to starting cancer treatment, compared to the Scottish Government's 62-day target.

Patients in Forth Valley, Highland and the Western Isles also waited more than 200 days - ranging from one patient in the Highlands waiting 202 days to another in the Western Isles waiting 275 days.

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Only one health board - NHS Orkney - had a maximum wait under 100 days. However, the median waiting times - a clearer indicator of what is normal - was much lower across the 14 health boards, ranging from 33 days in Dumfries and Galloway and the Western Isles, to 44 in Forth Valley.

The figures emerged following a parliamentary question by shadow health secretary Miles Briggs.

Mr Briggs said: “This isn’t just a one-off case of a patient having to wait hundreds of days because of a freak set of circumstances. Every year patients across Scotland are facing unacceptable delays for vital treatment.

“If a cancer patient is urgently referred by a doctor, they should not have to wait longer than the 62-day target timeframe. If anything, with so much at stake, they should be seen to even more quickly."

ISD Scotland, who provided the figures on maximum and median waiting times across the country, said they had been adjusted to account for factors such as treatment being postponed because a patient did not turn up or because they had another medical condition which had to be treated before cancer treatment could begin.

However, the agency cautioned that unusually high figures should be treated "with caution" as they could not guarantee the data quality in relation to individual patient cases.

It comes amid a year-on-year decline in the percentage of patients beginning cancer treatment within the 62 day timeframe, from 89.8 per cent in 2016 to 86.9 per cent in 2017.

Cancer Support Scotland chief executive Colin Graham said: “The government has claimed that Scotland provides world-leading cancer care but cancer targets have been missed for four years. The key question is not how much money is being devoted to cancer care but how and where it is being spent and why so many NHS boards are failing to meet the prescribed targets.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Early detection and treatment of all cancers is crucial, which is why we have set robust standards, and it may be that some cases are delayed for clinical reasons.

"Once a decision to treat has been made, the average wait for cancer treatment is currently six days.

“However, in order to ensure waiting times are as short as possible in all cases we have set up a cancer performance delivery group to focus on driving forward improvements in waiting times for diagnosis and treatment for cancer patients in Scotland.”