Macmillan responds to Wales Cancer Waiting Times Data

Macmillan responds to Wales Cancer Waiting Times Data

“Although it is encouraging to see some improvement in cancer waiting times, there are still far too many people being let down by a system that cannot cope. Healthcare professionals are working around the clock, but these treatment delays are having a devastating impact on people living with cancer and throwing lives into chaos.

“We are particularly concerned about people with gynaecological cancers who are more likely to face delays, with today’s data for March showing only one in three of those affected started their treatment on time. Despite a recent report from the Senedd’s Health and Social Care Committee raising concerns, the Welsh Government’s response has left many women feeling let down. 

“It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time for the Welsh Government to not only listen to the concerns of people living with cancer, but to deliver real change and improvement within cancer care before the situation gets any worse.

“If you or someone you love is affected by cancer, we’re here, whatever you need to ask. Call Macmillan’s free support line on 0808 808 00 00, open everyday 8am to 8pm.”

Key facts 

  • In March 2024, more than 600 people with cancer in Wales waited more than 62 days to start treatment from first being suspected of having cancer – this was more than a third (40%) of those who started treatment in that month[i] 
  • While performance improved from the previous month, the total number of people starting treatment in March was the lowest in nearly two years and the national cancer waiting times target in Wales was still missed, showing that NHS cancer services in Wales are still struggling under intense pressure[ii]
  • Recent Macmillan analysis shows 2023 was the worst year on record for cancer waiting times in Wales[iii] 
  • The national cancer waiting times target in Wales has never been met since first being introduced, and an interim recovery target set by the Welsh Government has also been missed[iv]
  • For some cancer types, performance remains very concerning. For example, in March 2024 only 31.8% of those with gynaecological cancer started their treatment on time[v]



[1] Figures based on Suspected Cancer Pathways data from StatsWales, accessed 23rd May 2024. In March 2024, 60.5% of people with cancer in Wales (988 out of 1,633) started their first definitive treatment within 62 days of first being suspected of cancer. This was 7.1 percentage points higher than the previous month, but still means 645 people in Wales were left waiting too long in March 2024

2 As per ref 1

3 As per ref 1. Overall performance for 2023 was 0.4 percentage points lower than 2022 making it the worst cancer waiting times performance on record in Wales. Across the whole of 2022, 56.2% of people were treated within the 62 days target. In 2023, 55.9% of people started treatment within the 62 days target time

4 At least 75% of patients should start treatment within 62 days (without suspensions) of first being suspected of cancer. Data published for time periods before December 2020 are not subject to the target. The Welsh Government’s planned care recovery plan established a new target of 80%, to be reached by 2026.  Those targets have never been met, and an interim recovery target that cancer diagnosis and treatment would be undertaken within 62 days for 70% of people by March 2023 was also missed

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