CLAIMS that cancer patients in Clackmannanshire are having to wait more than six months to start their treatment have been shot down this week.

Concerns were raised after it was said that those urgently referred for treatment in Forth Valley, Fife and Tayside were experiencing longer delays than others across Scotland.

A government target of 62 days is set for cancer patients urgently referred to begin treatment, though Scottish Conservatives say they uncovered damning details through a parliamentary question and additional information provided by SPICe.

The party's Liz Smith, Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, said: “The fact that cancer patients in need of urgent care in Fife, Forth Valley and Tayside are waiting between four and six months for their treatment to start is unacceptable.

“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.

“The Scottish Government must work hard to ensure that patients in Forth Valley, Tayside and Fife are supported throughout their cancer journey and that means treatment starting as soon as possible.”

However, a statement released by NHS Forth Valley vehemently refuted these stats.

The statement read: “We are not aware of any patients having to wait this length of time for cancer treatment locally.

“The majority of patients with cancer in Forth Valley are seen and treated very quickly, however there are a small number of more complex cases where patients may require a number of additional specialist tests and investigations before their treatment can begin to help determine the most effective care plan.

“We are continuing to do everything possible to ensure patients with suspected cancer can access tests and treatment as soon as possible and are working closely with colleagues in the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre to take this forward.

Also disputing the figures is Alloa woman Marie Ross, who has twice battled cancer in recent years.

She said: “I would have to say those stats are not true. I went to the doctor's on the Friday and was diagnosed by the Tuesday. I was then operated on in less than three weeks.

“I have never heard of anyone having to wait that long. As soon as you get diagnosed there are treatment options.

“Everyone at Forth Valley was excellent, from the doctors to the nurses, it was all great.”

Marie was keen to stress that the whole process was quick and painless.

She continued: “It was definitely a positive experience being in Forth Valley. They provide an excellent service.”