A larger number of Scotland-based patients than ever before are being treated within two months of cancer diagnosis, it has been revealed.

Statistics showed 96 per cent of all urgently referred patients who were told they had cancer between January and March started to receive treatment within the 62-day cancer waiting time target.

This is the second consecutive quarter that the 95 per cent target has been reached by NHS Scotland after 95.4 per cent of the patients from October to December 2008 started their treatment within the same time.

However, not all of the different health boards and cancer types have reached the set targets. NHS Grampian saw 94 per cent of urgently referred patients receive treatment on time, and only 89.3 per cent of those referred with head and neck cancer received treatment within 62 days.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “The challenge now is to continue this achievement and to strive for further improvements within specific NHS boards and cancer types.”