Charity warns of worsening waiting times as over 40% of cancer patients face delays in start of treatment
Macmillan Cancer Support is warning of a further worsening of cancer waiting times in Wales with more than 4 in 10 people with cancer facing delays in starting their treatment on time.
The latest data, published today, shows that in April only 56.4% of cancer patients started their treatment within 62 days – well below the national target of 75%.
This was a drop on the previous month’s figures of 58.7% and means that during April alone, at least 623 people faced delays in receiving vital cancer treatments.
In March, the cancer care system in Wales faced its busiest month on record with the number of people being referred for a potential cancer diagnosis exceeding 15,000.
The performance data for April suggests the impact of this unprecedented demand has resulted in patients facing longer waits for diagnosis and treatment.
Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said: “Again this data shows a trend of worsening cancer waiting times in Wales, which mean more than 4 in 10 people with cancer here did not start their treatment on time in April.
“The figures show performance has dipped for the four most common types of cancer – breast, lung, urological and lower gastrointestinal – and the vast majority of cancer types.
“These delays mean they and their loved ones faced distressing and worrying delays, which could impact on the success of their treatment.
“These worrying figures show how our cancer care system is still struggling to cope with demand despite the valiant efforts of NHS staff.
“We need urgent focus to improve cancer care in Wales now and in the future especially as Wales is now working towards a target of 80 per cent of people with cancer being treated on time by 2026.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “In April fewer people started their first definitive cancer treatment within 62 days of cancer first being suspected, compared to March.
“10,539 pathways suspected of having cancer were informed they did not have cancer; this is also a decrease compared to the previous month.”
“…we remain concerned about the levels of delay experienced by patients on occasion and are working with all stakeholders through national programmes to support improvement.”
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