‘Welsh Labour Government is struggling to get a grip on cancer waiting times’ – Kirsty Williams

August 22, 2012 1:57 PM

Cancer waiting times statistics released today have shown that the percentage of patients starting their treatment within the Government's target time has declined.

The Welsh Government's target is for 95% of urgent suspected cancer patients to be seen by a cancer specialist by 62 days. Over the most recent quarter, this target was heavily missed, with just 88% of patients being seen within the target time - a 2% drop when compared with the previous quarter.

It has also been revealed that Aneurin Bevan was the only Local Health Board in Wales to meet its target for at least 95% of patients newly diagnosed with cancer, who are considered to urgently need treatment, to start treatment within 62 days. Performance for this varied greatly across Wales, with the worst performing LHB being Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, where just 74% of patients started treatment within the target time.

Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, commented:

"This Welsh Labour Government is struggling to get a grip on cancer waiting times. It has been years since the Labour Government's 95% target has been met and the statistics appear to show that the service is not improving. It is imperative that all urgent suspected cancer patients receive treatment promptly, otherwise there is a chance that their health can seriously deteriorate in the meantime.

"It is particularly worrying to see how much variance there is across the Local Health Board's. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have raised this issue with the Welsh Labour Government time and time again, but they seem completely void of ideas about how to tackle these waiting times. Only recently we questioned the First Minister in the Assembly about cancer waiting times for Abertawe Bro Morgannwg patients, he seemed content with the status quo and refused to suggest any solutions about how to improve the speed of treatment in the region. That is not a sign of a Government who is ready to turn things around."

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