"Unacceptable waiting times at Beatson "

About: Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre

(as a relative),

My mother attended the Beatson last year for a two week course of Radiotherapy treatment. Her appointments would vary, sometimes her appointment would be at 9am and other times it would be at 11am. However, what did not vary was the time she had to wait to be taken. Her appointment to get the treatment should only take 10 minutes and therefore if her appointment was at 9am we should be out the door at 9.10am. However, we were often still sitting in the waiting room for over 2 hours waiting to be called.

My mother was terminally ill with cancer and every moment she spent waiting was wasted time, when she could have been savouring the precious time she had left. When she had to wait for over two hours she would be exhausted by the time we got home and unable to do anything else for the rest of the day. We lived 90 minutes away so the trip to get to the Beatson was a three hour round trip. Why are people having to wait so long to be called for their appointment? Does the Board consider this to be an acceptable wait?

The matter of long waits to be seen at the Beatson was raised by Nicola Sturgeon MSP at the Boards 2010 annual review. Things have obviously not changed.

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Response from John Hamilton, Head of Board Administration, Board Administration, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Thank you for submitting your message to Patient Opinion. The management of the Radiotherapy Department have asked that I apologise to you that you and your mother had to wait each day for her to receive her Radiotherapy treatment when you were attending last year. Without knowing the specifics, it is difficult to say if this was related to the clinical condition or if there were delays associated with a specific linear accelerator used for the treatment.

We would like to reassure you that the vast majority of patients are treated within half an hour of reporting to the receptionist and patients with early morning appointments are very rarely kept waiting unless there has been an unforeseen breakdown on the treatment units.

A large proportion of patients travel to the Beatson by some form of provided transport which, with the best will, does not always ensure their arrival prior to their treatment time. These patients then have to be treated as near as posssible to their appointment slot which makes running a strict appointing system problematic.

Again, we would express our regret that our service did not deliver your expectations. If you would like to provide us with more specific details so we can deal with this case in confidence please do so by e-mailing me at –


This way we can review the actual issues behind your specific case.

We constantly review our booking systems and protocols in an attempt to improve our service and better anticipate patient needs. Thank you once again for sharing with us your experience and we do hope to try and improve our services through receiving messages such as your own.



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