Performance on Wales’ cancer treatment targets falls once again, Macmillan
Macmillan Cancer Support has warned performance against cancer treatment targets in Wales has taken a further step backwards, leaving hundreds to face anxious delays.
The latest data reveals that in May alone, more than 790 individuals experienced distressing delays in their crucial cancer care.
In some regions of Wales, less than 50% of cancer patients receive treatment within the target timeframe of 62 days, according to data from three out of the six health boards that monitor cancer waiting times.
The health board in North Wales reported 60% of cancer patients receive treatment within the target timeframe.
Alarmingly, for specific forms of cancer, including gynaecological and urological, almost two-thirds of patients are suffering from delays.
Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, voiced grave concerns over the situation. “The stark reality is that in areas right across Wales, less than half of people with cancer are being treated on time,” he stated, pointing out that the Welsh Government is already falling behind on its recovery target of treating 70% of cancer patients on time by March 2023.
It is estimated that about 4,500 people in Wales have seen their cancer prognosis worsen due to these increasing treatment delays.
This stark reality prompts deep questions about the Welsh Government’s ability to meet its promise of treating 80% of cancer patients on time by 2026.
In response to the escalating situation, Plaid Cymru has urged the Welsh Government to devise a plan to expedite the most urgent cases on NHS waiting lists.
This call follows the latest figures showing that NHS waiting lists have increased by 5,000 patient pathways from the previous month, marking the third consecutive month of increases.
Plaid Cymru spokesperson for health and care, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, noted the immense strain this situation places on both patients and healthcare workers, emphasizing the critical need for fair pay and safe working conditions for NHS staff.
“Let’s not forget there’s an impact not only on health outcomes from the original health concern but can cause a toll in so many other ways too – on staff and patients. The impact on mental health of worry, or chronic pain cannot be understated, nor can the continued stress on staff having to work under such pressure,” said Gwynfor.
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