CANCER patients in Inverclyde are facing longer waits for treatment than almost anywhere else in the country.

The convenor of the health and social care committee Robert Moran, who has battled bowel cancer, says the situation is 'disgraceful'.

New waiting time figures show that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde ranks as one of the worst performances nationally and last reached targets SIX years ago.

In some cases patients have waited more than three months.

Councillor Moran said: "When you have cancer and waiting for treatment a day feels like a week and a week feels like a month.

"It is the worst feeling in the world.

"Unless you have been through it, it is hard to understand what it is like.

"What you have to remember that this is not even the start of the wait, before this people have probably been going to their GP first.

"We keep getting told that there is a record amount of money going in to the NHS.

"Well where is it going, what are they spending it on?

"This has to be fixed."

Since beating bowel cancer Robert has spent his time raising awareness of the need for early diagnosis.

He said: "The staff in the hospitals are absolutely brilliant and you couldn't fault them.

"But we have to get the waiting times down."

Health boards are expected to begin treating 95 per cent of patients within 62 days of their first urgent referral.

But in Greater Glasgow and Clyde's case, figures for July to September last year showed they are only treating 76.6 per cent of patients within this timescale.

The health board has the second worst record, ranked 13th out of 14, and has not met the target for the last five years.

Bosses recently announced plans for a shake up of cancer treatment and are putting in place a new model to meet steadily increasing demand.

Health chiefs say that from 2013-17 there has been a 35 per cent increase in cases.

As part of a redesign they plan to use other professionals for pre-assessments, such as nurses.

Dr David Dodds, chief of medicine, added: “This means that more patients would be able to have treatment at their local cancer unit or outreach treatment centre instead of travelling to the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow."

The board says it has introduced a number of measures aimed at meeting the 62 day target.

A spokesperson added: "This includes six new breast service advance nurse practitioners who took up post at the end of August, and a locum breast surgeon has been appointed pending the recruitment of a substantive consultant for the Clyde sector."