Wales’ cancer care system at breaking point, warns leading charity
Wales’ cancer care system is at “breaking point”, a leading charity has warned.
The comments from Macmillan Cancer Support come after new figures revealed that over 780 people across Wales faced treatment delays in just one month.
Data released last week by the Welsh Government shows that in July just 56.6 per cent of people with cancer received their treatment on time.
Although this was was 3.2 percentage points higher than the previous month and the highest since March 2023, it falls well below current national targets and the Welsh Government’s ambition of treating 80 per cent of people in time by 2026.
For some cancers, performance remains even more concerning, with only 34.5 per cent of people with urological cancer – around 1 in 3 – started their treatment on time.
14,074 pathways were closed in July after the was patient informed they did not have cancer.
This is a decrease of 3.4 per cent compared to the previous month
The charity warns that Wales’ current target of treating 75% of people with cancer on time remains a target that has never been met – a fact which is leaving cancer patients to face devastating waits for potentially life-saving treatment.
Macmillan is now calling for urgent action to support both hard working NHS staff, and the people they care for – not least the need to fund and train more specialist cancer roles to help manage the growing demand for cancer care in Wales.
Responding to the latest cancer treatment waiting times data, Glenn Page, Macmillan Policy Manager for Wales said: “While any improvement in cancer treatment waiting times is welcome, the data still shows that in July, as in every other month over the last two years, the Welsh Government has failed to meet targets for treating people with cancer on time.
“The figures show a cancer care system that is unsustainable and at breaking point, with people living with cancer facing devastating delays and being let down by the very systems designed to support them.
“People recently diagnosed with cancer, and the tireless NHS staff who care for them, know all too well that cancer treatment is time critical.
“Both patients and exhausted NHS professionals will now quite rightly look towards the targets set by the Welsh Government and ask, ‘what are we waiting for?’
“Urgent action must be taken to ensure people with cancer can get the timely, high-quality care they need.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We and health and social care partners are working hard to target improvements, particularly in respect of patient flow, ahead of the winter period.
“Cancer treatment has increased against the 62 day target but the Welsh Government accept that there is still more to do in this area despite the fact that 14,074 people were informed in one month that they did not have cancer.
“Despite the pressures on budgets, the Health Minister expects health boards to achieve the new targets for reducing the longest waits and we will continue to support them to achieve that.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com