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Charity warns 40% of patients in Wales are facing delays to vital cancer treatments

21 Apr 2022 2 minutes Read
Picture by JBLM PAO (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

A leading Cancer charity has warned that 4 in 10 people with cancer in Wales didn’t start their treatment on time

The warning comes following the latest NHS Wales data, published today, which shows that in February only 59.5% of cancer patients started their treatment within 62 days – well below the national target of 75%.

It means that during February alone, an estimated 620 people faced delays in receiving vital cancer treatments.

Macmillan believes the data continues to show how the Welsh cancer care system, which was under pressure and missing targets even before the pandemic began, is now struggling to cope with a rise in demand.

Harmful delays

Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said: “The latest Wales cancer waiting times show that 4 in 10 people with cancer here – an estimated 620 people – did not start their treatment on time in February alone meaning they faced anxious and potentially harmful delays.

“While the statistics show a slight improvement on last month’s data, the figures also show a worrying variation in treatment times for different cancer types with fewer than half of people with gynaecological, urological and lower gastrointestinal cancers being treated on time.

“Today’s figures show why Wales urgently needs a detailed cancer strategy as the only UK nation without one as well as a cancer workforce plan and funding to ensure we have enough cancer professionals in place to treat and support people with cancer now and the future.

Research

“Macmillan’s own research shows we need 80 per cent more cancer nurses in Wales by the end of the decade and this can’t happen without the right funding and plan in place.”

Responding to the figures released today, a spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “February saw a 2.5% increase in people starting their first definitive treatment following a new diagnosis of cancer from January 2022 and a 6.5% increase in the number of patients starting treatment within the 62 day target.

“Next week we will publish a detailed plan on how we will tackle the waiting times for patients whose treatment has been delayed by the pandemic.”


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