Wales’ cancer crisis deepens with hundreds of patients a month left to face anxious delays
A leading cancer charity has called for urgent action and radical funding to help address the delays faced by cancer patients in Wales.
Macmillan Cancer Support is warning that nearly half (46.5%) of people with cancer in Wales are now being left to face anxious waits in lifesaving cancer treatments.
Figures released last week revealed that in July alone over 740 cancer patients were not treated within the nationally set target of 62 days – well below Wales’ aim of treating 75 per cent of people on time.
53.5% (853 out of 1,594) of pathways started their first definitive treatment within the target time of first being suspected of cancer.
This was 0.5 percentage points lower than the previous month and 9.9 percentage points lower than July 2021.
July’s statistics record the second lowest level of performance since current data collections began.
The data also reveals significant variation in treatment times for different cancer types, with waiting times for tumours such as head and neck, gynaecological and urological cancers showing as few as 32.3% of patients starting their treatment on time.
Macmillan is now warning that despite the continued and tireless efforts of NHS staff, the crisis in Wales’ cancer care system continues to deepen as services struggle to meet the demand for life-saving cancer treatment.
Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said: “These figures reveal the stark truth that nearly half of people with cancer, people who may already have experienced significant delays in their initial diagnosis during the pandemic, are now also being met with delays in receiving life-saving treatment.
“Wales’ cancer care system is now working harder than ever before, with an unprecedented level of demand for life saving care and treatment.
“Yet the harsh reality is that the system is simply not able to keep up with this demand.
“It is a crisis that will only continue to deepen unless Wales sees both a radical investment into cancer services and the development of a clear strategic direction that will put the right staff and facilities in place to meet demand both now and in the future.”
“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 macmillan.org.uk.”
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