Macmillan has welcomed an improvement in cancer treatment waiting times but warns that a third of cancer patients are still facing worrying delays in their care.
The latest cancer treatment times data, which was published today, shows that over 550 people faced delays in their treatment during March 2021 alone.
The charity says that while this is a marked improvement on the previous month, it demonstrates just how far Wales’ cancer services have to go in recovering from the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.
Macmillan also warns that despite the improvement in the number of cancer treatments taking place in March 2021, there has been around 1,430 fewer people starting their first definitive treatment for cancer since the pandemic began.
Jon Antoniazzi, Policy Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said:
“We really do have to acknowledge this improvement, with hard working NHS staff across every health board in Wales achieving an improved performance against Wales’ nationally set cancer treatment targets.
“But these figures also show the scale of the challenge we have left. We are still seeing far fewer people coming through the system, and our worry is that this will mean more people receiving a later diagnosis and therefore needing far more complex treatment.
“It has been a huge effort to make this improvement in the face of the challenges of the last year, and it has been achieved by an NHS workforce that is fatigued and on its knees after coping with this pandemic.
“Only this morning we have seen details from the Welsh Government on how the initial £100m to aid the NHS in its recovery from this pandemic will be allocated. These latest figures show just how much that investment is needed and welcome.
“People will only get the early diagnosis and treatment they need to get the best possible outcome if there is a well-funded, well-resourced and highly trained workforce to deliver it.
“Today’s funding announcement is a welcome first step in the right direction, but we will need to see significantly more in the future if our cancer services are to stand any chance at all of keeping up with both current and future demand.”
“If anyone is worried and needs advice, information or a chat you can call Macmillan for free on 0808 808 0000.”