Welsh cancer patients still being let down as waiting times deteriorate
Cancer patients in Wales are still being let down by delays in treatment, according to data published today by the Welsh Government.
In May 2013, the Labour-led administration set itself a target which aims for 95% of newly diagnosed patients, who require urgent treatment, to be seen by a specialist within 62 days. Yet this has consistently been missed.
For the month of June, this pattern of failure has continued unabated with just 86.5% of urgent cases being treated within the 62-day time frame; a deterioration on last month which saw 88.6% of patients being treated within this window.
In real terms, this equates to 578 patients receiving on-target treatment out of a possible 668.
None of Wales’ seven health boards met the 95% target, but Cwm Taf came closest to achieving this with 92.6% while Cardiff and Vale was the worst performing at 82.1%.
Patients seeking treatment via the so-called ‘non-urgent route’ – which requires all patients to be treated within 31 days – are also being let down. Only 97.6% of patients across Wales started treatment within this target, falling from 98.3% the previous month.
Commenting on the data, Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Health, Angela Burns AM, said:
“Today’s figures highlight a worrying deterioration in urgent and non-urgent cancer waiting times.
“Ultimately, Welsh communities have every right to question whether performance is ever going to reach an acceptable standard under the Labour-led Welsh Government.
“Delays between diagnosis and treatment create huge added worry for patients and their families and can often result in poorer outcomes.
“As with so many virulent diseases, time is of the essence. The sooner cancer can be treated, the better chance there is for a recovery.
“More investment is urgently needed in frontline cancer services so that more people can be treated without delay.”