An open letter to Scotland’s new first minister

It was announced on the 27th March 2023 that Humza Yousaf will succeed Nicola Sturgeon as the leader of the SNP.

Humza Yousaf holding a PCAS sign.
Today (29th March 2023) Humza was sworn in as the new first minister of Scotland.
Pancreatic Cancer Action have written an open letter to the new first minister, urging him to prioritise delivering the 10-year cancer strategy that the Scottish Government has been working on.
The full letter written to Humza Yousaf can be read below.

Dear Humza Yousaf,

Congratulations on becoming Scotland’s new first minister. Pancreatic Cancer Action Scotland is the only charity that focuses specifically on improving pancreatic cancer survival through early diagnosis. From raising awareness of the symptoms with the public and funding early diagnosis research, to providing diagnostic tools for healthcare professionals and free health information for patients and their families.

Our mission is to improve the survival rates of pancreatic cancer by ensuring more people are diagnosed early and in time for surgery – currently the only potential cure – and improve patients’ quality of life.

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth biggest cancer killer in the UK. However, it only receives 3% of all cancer funding.

Across the UK today, 29 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. That’s around 10,500 people diagnosed annually across the UK. Over 900 of these cases are in Scotland.

Of those 29 people diagnosed, 26 of them will die each day. Equating to around 9,600 people dying a year of pancreatic cancer across the UK.

We are calling on you to prioritise delivering the 10-year cancer strategy that you and the Scottish Government have been working on. Ensuring this is published in the timescale that it was due to be.

To invest in diagnostic equipment across Scotland. The Scottish Government has spent £30 million in recent years sending scans to be analysed. One-off funding announcements won’t solve the problem. Scotland needs a dedicated cancer diagnostics plan to end people dying prematurely.

In addition, we need to grow the cancer workforce with appropriate planning for a sustainable future for the NHS in Scotland. The Royal College of Radiologists has found that Scotland’s NHS needs more than 100 additional consultant radiologists than it currently employs to meet demand. Ensuring that the growing population of people with cancer has access to the best possible care and support is dependent on the NHS having the right workforce in place, both in specialist cancer services and across the whole of health and social care.

We look forward to working with you and your Government and hope that the upcoming 10-year Cancer Strategy will set the right course and be backed by the necessary funding to deliver.

It will take ambition and long-term commitment to increase earlier diagnosis, fewer deaths and a better chance for everyone diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And we’re here to help you achieve that.

Thank you so much,

Yours Sincerely,

Pancreatic Cancer Action Scotland