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Cancer charity warns only half of people with cancer in Wales were treated on time last month

19 Jan 2023 2 minute read
Photo by skeeze from Pixabay

A cancer charity has warned almost half of people in Wales with cancer weren’t treated on time last month.

Macmillan Cancer Support said that while treatment waiting times have improved in Wales, data published today shows in November only 53.9 per cent of people with cancer started their treatment on time – with 807 people facing anxious delays to treatment.

While Macmillan welcomes this improvement on the previous month’s performance, which was the worst on record, the charity has said too many people are still experiencing treatment delays.

The data also shows concerning variations in treatment times for different cancer types with less than a third of those with gynaecological cancers (30.4%) and 37.1% of head and neck cancers being treated on time.

Glenn Page, Policy and Public Affairs Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said: “We know cancer care staff are working valiantly to tackle increased demand and referrals and we hope this improvement marks a new direction of travel.

“health crisis”

“Later this month, the Welsh Government will publish its Cancer Services Improvement Plan. People living with cancer deserve a plan that is going to deliver urgent action to tackle waiting times and ensure hard-working cancer care staff have the right resources, staff and capacity.

“Macmillan continues to do everything it can to help, and we are here for anyone with cancer and their loved ones. For advice, information or a chat, you can call us free on 0808 808 0000 or visit”

Responding to the figures today, Plaid Cymru spokesman for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said a “health crisis” should be delayed in Wales.

He added: “Welsh Government cannot keep doing the same thing and expecting waiting times to drastically improve – this needs new and innovative thinking to change the current trajectory that the NHS is on.

The Welsh Government said progress is being made on the longest waits and two year waits for treatment have fallen for the eighth month in a row.

A spokesperson said: More people started their first definitive cancer treatment and performance against the 62 day target increased in November compared to the previous month.

“As we continue to prioritise the most urgent cases, November saw the highest number of people told they don’t have cancer on record, a 33.4% increase compared to April 2022.”

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