On the day the Labour government misses its urgent cancer waiting time target for another month, Welsh Conservatives will lead a Senedd debate on long Welsh delays for treatment.
At the end of April, 89.7 per cent of patients newly diagnosed via the ‘Urgent Suspected Cancer route’ started definitive treatment within the target time of 62 days.
The Labour government’s own target is 95 per cent. It has not been met since 2008.
Last year Labour’s First Minister made a commitment in the National Assembly that figures for March 2013 would show the target had been met.
After Welsh Conservatives revealed that promise had been broken, it was reported that a Welsh Government spokesman claimed the target would then be met by October last year. This commitment was also broken.
In total, one in seven people in Wales is stuck on an NHS waiting list.
At the end of April, 424,009 were waiting for their start of their treatment. That figure stood at just 220,000 when Carwyn Jones took up his role as Labour First Minister.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Health, Darren Millar AM, has previously written to the First Minister calling for urgent action on waiting times, along with a guarantee of immediate improvement in performance.
So far, the Labour government’s only answer has been a review of all NHS performance targets.
Mr Millar said:
“Labour-run cancer waiting times are a disgrace. Six years without a single urgent target hit will be difficult for anyone to understand.
“Labour’s first minister has broken his own promises and communities deserve answers.
“Delays in accessing treatment can lead to devastating outcomes for patients and their families – yet all Labour can do is review its targets.
“After 15 years of successive Labour Governments, more patients than ever are waiting for hospital treatment.
“Instead of Labour’s record-breaking NHS budget cuts, patients and staff deserve a properly resourced health service which is equipped to meet rising demand.”