Health Secretary Humza Yousaf says he will “consider” meeting Tayside cancer care campaigners, if they make a formal request.
Breast cancer patients in Tayside have been calling to meet with the health secretary following revelations in 2019 that nearly 200 women were given a lower than standard dose of treatment.
So far both Mr Yousaf and his predecessor Jeane Freeman have failed to meet with the group.
The group also wants to discuss ongoing issues with services in Tayside with Mr Yousaf, including patients with possible cancer symptoms being asked to make multiple trips to NHS Tayside’s “one-stop clinic” because of staff shortages.
Although NHS Tayside is currently meeting the national 31-day target for breast cancer treatment for patients who have an urgent suspicion of cancer, health bosses were forced to implement a remobilisation plan in March and ask other board to help prop up its cancer services.
No formal request to meet, says Yousaf
Speaking during his visit to the Maggie’s Centre, the health secretary said: “I have not had any formal request [to meet].
“If it is put in, any formal request would be considered carefully.
“As someone who has lost a loved one to cancer I completely understand the heartache these issues are fuelling.
“It is important to say there have been a number of reviews and investigations done and the conclusion is it is highly unlikely the issues affected outcomes.
“Tayside also has good performances around cancer waiting times.
“If there are concerns with the one-stop clinic, I am more than happy to raise these issues with the chair of NHS Tayside.”
Prehabilitation rolled out across Scotland
Mr Yousaf was at the Maggie’s Centre in Dundee to launch the government’s new pre-treatment rehabilitation programme, which will be offered at all eight Maggie’s Centres in Scotland.
The project will give those just diagnosed with cancer help and advice on things such as exercise, nutrition and mental health.
He added: “Prehabilitation enables people with cancer to physically and mentally prepare for treatment by adopting healthy behaviours – with the ultimate aim of improving outcomes for them.
“It can reduce the length of stay in hospital and post-treatment complications, and improve recovery, fitness, nutritional status, neuro-cognitive function and quality of life.
“Cancer treatment has remained a top priority for the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.”