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“Worrying” urgent cancer treatment decline in every part of Wales

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams has responded to “worrying” figures showing a decline in the percentage of urgent cancer patients treated within the target time in every Welsh health board.

In the quarter up to March 2015, only 83.9% of Welsh patients diagnosed via the Urgent Suspected Cancer route began treatment within the target 62 days – down from 88.0% in the previous quarter. Cardiff and the Vale health board had the lowest percentage receiving timely treatment, with only 81.2% beginning treatment within 2 months.

The target of 95% of urgent patients beginning treatment within 62 days has not been met since 2008, and was not met by a single health board in the last quarter.

Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:

“These statistics are incredibly worrying. We’ve seen a percentage decline in those starting treatment within the target time in every single health board in Wales, and not a single one meeting the target.

“It’s been eight years since the target of 95% was met in Wales, yet this hasn’t been met with any urgent action by Welsh Labour Ministers. Their poverty of ambition for our nation runs deep in our health services, and Welsh patients are suffering because of it.

“Welsh Liberal Democrats want parties to put politics aside and work together to sort out our NHS. Our call for a cross-party commission with input from patients and clinicians was supported by organisations like the Royal College of Nursing, but fell on deaf ears in the other opposition parties who unfortunately decided to put politics before patients.

“It’s easy to forget that behind every number is a cancer patient needing urgent treatment, and every single one who has to wait for over two months to begin treatment is one too many.”