Cancer waiting times: 98 patients ‘let down’ in one month
98 people newly diagnosed with cancer via the ‘urgent suspected cancer route’ did not start their treatment within the target time in June.
Latest figures, published by Welsh government today, show Labour’s target has been missed again. It was last met in 2008.
At the end of June, 83.1 per cent of patients had started ‘definitive treatment’ within 62 days (481 out of 579).The figure should stand at 95 per cent across Wales.
In January 2013, Labour’s First Minister was questioned on cancer waiting times in the Senedd. Responding to Welsh Conservatives, he made a commitment to meet waiting time targets by the end of that year.
Record of proceedings: January 15th 2013
Angela Burns (Welsh Conservative Assembly Member for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire)
“…..I would like to ask you about the progress report for 2012 in relation to health promises. One of the actions in your responses is to look at improving access and patient experience. Can you give us an update on when you might be able to meet the cancer waiting times targets that you agreed to adhere to? Of all of the illnesses that might strike one, having to wait for cancer treatment can prove to be extremely terminal. It would be useful to the people of Wales if that was one of the promises that you were able to keep this year.”
Carwyn Jones (Labour First Minister)
“We expect to keep that promise by the end of March.”
This commitment was not met.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Health, Darren Millar AM, said:
“This is a crucial target that’s now been missed by Labour for seven years. Every month, more and more cases of long delays are being endured and more and more patients are being let down.
“Behind every statistic there is a story of needlessly long waits and understandable frustration.
“Delays between diagnosis and treatment create huge added worry for patients and their families and can often result in poorer outcomes.
“Despite a clear promise of improvement by Labour’s own First Minister – over two years ago – this is a scandal that shows absolutely no sign of improving.
“Patients in Wales are already seven times less likely to access some cancer treatments than their counterparts in England. Huge delays in treatment only add to that unfair disparity.
“Labour’s record-breaking NHS budget cuts continue to hamper staff and it’s time for the Welsh government to get a grip on waiting times once and for all.”