CONCERNS have been raised over delays to treatment for cancer sufferers.

New research shows that some patients are being forced to wait months longer for cancer care, despite receiving urgent referrals from doctors.

One patient in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which covers Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, had to wait 315 days for treatment to begin.

According to the Scottish Conservatives, who have revealed the figures, that is the second biggest wait since 2010 and “underlines the challenges facing hospitals in the face of staff shortages and dwindling resources.”

Under Scottish Government targets, cancer patients who get an urgent referral should begin treatment within 62 days.

However, shadow health secretary Miles Briggs uncovered much longer waits across Scotland after submitting a parliamentary question.

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.

“This is just another damning statistic which exposes the SNP’s shambolic running of the NHS.

“If the Scottish Government is serious about helping those who need it most, it would sort this situation out as a matter of urgency.”

The Scottish Government said it has set aside an extra £4 million to support immediate improvements in capacity for diagnostic scopes, imaging and outpatient appointments for suspected cancer patients.

A spokesperson added: “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.”