Spotlight on cancer treatments access
Access to cancer treatments in Wales has been at the forefront of a Welsh Conservative community engagement forum in Newport.
Held at Rodney Parade, a number of health organisations attended the event, including BMA Cymru, Macmillan, Tenovus, NHS Confederation, RCN, Breast Cancer Care and Aneurin Bevan Community Health Council.
Representatives were joined by local campaigners, who’ve called for boosted access to cancer treatments in south east Wales and across the country as a whole.
Issues and challenges surrounding cancer drug availability, the Individual Patient Funding Request (IPFR) system, and waiting times for treatment were all discussed.
At the end of June, 83.1 per cent of ‘urgent suspected’ patients had started ‘definitive treatment’ within 62 days (481 out of 579). The target is 95 per cent and was last met in 2008.
Welsh Conservatives have called for the introduction of a Cancer Treatments Fund in Wales, which would:
- Boost access to cancer drugs in Wales
- Increase access to modern radiotherapy treatments
- Expand the number of mobile cancer treatment centres in Wales
Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies AM, chaired today’s forum. He said:
“These forums are an excellent opportunity to engage with communities and it’s clear that access to cancer treatments in Wales remains a hugely contentious issue.
“I was extremely pleased to host representatives from a number of health organisations at this event, along with patients who have first-hand experience of the current system.
“Views on the way cancer patients are able to access drugs and other treatments was sometimes varied – but always emotive.
“On one issue, all could agree: the staff on the frontline are exemplary – and all do an incredible job, often in the face of great adversity.
“Having listened to the views expressed today, I remain convinced that access to cancer treatments in Wales can be boosted – and the system made far simpler.
“This was the 17th community engagement forum I have hosted during my time as Welsh Conservative Leader – and more will follow.”
Following today’s forum, the Welsh Conservative Leader also visited the head and neck oncology unit at Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital.
He spoke to Macmillan specialists, who work as a team to support cancer patients during and after their treatment.
Mr Davies said:
“This is a clear example of hard-working staff delivering exceptional services for patients.
“The kind of treatment being provided by this team is hugely important to a patient’s recovery and I applaud the work of both Macmillan – and the health board – in making this happen.
“Head and neck cancers have some of the poorest survival rates and more research and awareness around early diagnosis is vital.”