Tracking team can ensure treatment times meet targets

Stewart Boyd, patient pathway supervisor, with members of the cancer tracker team.
Stewart Boyd, patient pathway supervisor, with members of the cancer tracker team.

A dedicated team of trackers is making sure Lanarkshire patients with cancer are seen faster than almost anywhere else in Scotland.

National targets mean 95 per cent of patients must start cancer treatment within 62 days from first referral of suspicion of cancer and within 31 days from the decision to treat to treatment regardless of their route of referral.

In Lanarkshire more than 95 per cent of patients meet these targets thanks to the work of the cancer trackers.

Margaret Kelly, manager of cancer services, said: “We have a team who follow every single patient with cancer throughout their care to make sure they are seen on time.

“If the tracker identifies any unexpected delay in the patient’s journey they will raise this with the clinical team as a matter of urgency.

“Any breach of the waiting guarantee is discussed in detail to determine what has gone wrong and how similar delays can be avoided in the future.

“While everyone acknowledges the importance of high-quality clinical care, people often don’t realise how much work goes on behind the scenes to make sure patients get their treatment on time.

“This is incredibly important for patients as the earlier you begin treatment the better the outcome.”

The number of patients with cancer is increasing in Scotland meaning the work of the tracking team is vital in ensuring the process for all patients is consistent.

Stewart Boyd, patient pathway supervisor, said: “We are responsible for ensuring a smooth and streamlined 62 day patient pathway.

“Since we’re following the patient every step of the way we can identify problems at an early stage to help improve the service and the patient journey.

“It means a lot to us as a team that, even though we aren’t directly treating patients, we can help contribute to their care.”