RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised the Welsh Labour Government following a further increase in waiting times for cancer sufferers awaiting treatment.
Across Wales statistics for June show that only 84.3% of newly-diagnosed Welsh urgent suspected cancer patients started their treatment within 62 days. This is down from 88.5% in May 2014, a fall of over 4 percentage points. The Welsh Government's target of 95% of urgent suspected cancer patients starting treatment in the 62 day window has not been met since June 2008, over six years ago.
In the Cwm Taf University Health Board area the June figures are slightly above average at 85.7% a slump of 5.2% since May. Here the 95% target has been met twice in the past year.
RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager Karen Roberts says
"For once RCT is not at the bottom of the table, but overall the waiting times fall far short of what is expected and there is a need for significant improvement.
"Nobody would deny that once treatment begins then patients are in excellent hands and NHS staff do a first rate job under difficult circumstances. They are battling against daily pressures of staff shortages and lack of resources which do not allow them to deliver the level of service they want to.
"However, the waiting to start treatment is a very stressful time for patients and indeed for their families. Reducing the waiting periods should be a priority for any Government, yet a succession of Labour Health Ministers have failed to address the issue.
"This is just one of many problems facing the NHS in Wales that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The Welsh Labour Government cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand and hope everything will work out. It is not fair to patients or indeed to staff."