My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Macmillan warns delays in lifesaving cancer treatments are at their worst since records began

Richard Pugh at the Senedd

Macmillan Cancer Support is warning that Wales’ performance in delivering life-saving cancer treatments on time is now at its worst since records began.

The charity warns that the stark reality is that around 800 cancer patients a month are being left to face heart-breaking delays, making a fiction of Wales’ ambitions to treat 80% of people on time by 2026.

In August only 52.5% of cancer patients started their treatment on time – a crisis in which almost 1 in 2 people diagnosed with cancer in Wales will experience delays in their care.

The data also reveals significant variation in treatment times for different cancer types, with waiting times for tumours such as gynaecological and urological cancers showing as few as 34.4% of patients starting their treatment on time.

Macmillan highlights that this is a clear continuation of a trend that existed well before, and which has only worsened during the coronavirus pandemic – that of Wales’ national treatment targets consistently being missed.

Macmillan is now calling for urgent action and greater support for Wales’ tireless NHS staff, to avoid the crisis in Wales’ cancer care system continuing to deepen as services struggle to meet demand for life-saving cancer treatment.

Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said: “This latest data holds a mirror up to the reality of cancer care in Wales.  Wales must now act on what it is seeing.

“Right now, the stark reality presented by current performance data makes the Welsh Government’s plans to treat 80% of patients on time by 2026 look more like fiction than ambition.  The direction of travel is completely wrong with Wales moving ever further away from that target rather than progressing towards it.

“What that means is that hundreds of cancer patients – month on month, year on year – are, along with their loved ones, facing the heartbreak of treatment delays that will ultimately impact on the outcomes that can be realistically achieved for them.

“We know Wales’ cancer care system, and it’s staff, are working harder than ever before.  They desperately need to see the promised Cancer Services Delivery Plan which Welsh Government has committed to publishing by Autumn 2022.  Without it, this current crisis will only continue to worsen.

“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.”