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Charity warns cancer treatment targets continue to be missed

Macmillan Wales has warned that 119 people faced delays in their cancer treatment during January of this year.

With almost 1400 people having faced delays in cancer treatment in 2018, the charity says that the latest data released for the start of 2019 suggests a worrying continuation of this trend.

Macmillan warns that new cancer treatment data, published today, shows that only 85.3 per cent of patients diagnosed via the urgent suspected cancer route started definitive treatment on time – a number well below the national target of 95 per cent.

Richard Pugh, Head of Services for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said:

“These latest figures reveal that Wales’ worrying failure to meet its national cancer treatment targets is already plaguing 2019, as it has for over 10 years.

“We have to remember that behind every delay revealed by these statistics is a person, and their loved ones, who are anxiously waiting for cancer treatment to begin.

“Just this week we have seen worrying reports that gaps are appearing in our already overstretched cancer care workforce, with the College of Radiologists suggesting the number of cancer doctors in Wales has stalled since 2013.

“We must acknowledge these pressures.  We are seeing month-on-month, year-on-year rises in the number of people being diagnosed with cancer and we simply must make sure we have a robust and sustainable cancer care workforce that can keep up with this demand for care.

“While there is much to celebrate in Wales’ cancer care system, not least the Herculean efforts made by hardworking NHS staff, more must be done introduce greater capacity into Wales’ already overstretched cancer care workforce.”