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‘Speed of cancer treatment is dictated by where a person lives’ – Kirsty Williams

November 28, 2012 1:40 PM

The Welsh Labour government has presided over a failing cancer service that dictates the speed of treatment by where a person lives, according to the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Kirsty Williams.

The Welsh government's target is for 95% of urgent suspected cancer patients to be seen by a cancer specialist by 62 days. Statistics have shown that the target was missed by nearly 10%, with just 86% of patients being seen within the target time. Only one Local Health Board, Aneurin Bevan, met the 95% target.

Kirsty Williams AM commented:

"Today's statistics highlight that there is a huge variation in waiting times with regards to where a person lives. It is not right that Abertawe Bro Morgannwg LHB has only 75% of patients starting treatment with 62 days, compared to 97% of patients being seen by Aneurin Bevan. The Welsh Labour Government has presided of a failing cancer service that dictates the speed of treatment by where a person lives.

"The figures released also show that the type of cancer a person has will likely determine the speed within which they will be seen by a specialist. For example, only 52% of patients thought to be suffering from head or neck cancer were seen within 62 days. That, quite frankly, is disgraceful.

"62 days is already a incredibly long time for a person to have to wait to be seen by a cancer specialist, but being forced to wait even longer than that is completely unacceptable. 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 can come to no surprise to any of us that people are having to wait much longer than the target time to be seen by a cancer specialist. The Welsh Labour Government has had years of opportunity to make significant improvements to Wales' cancer services, but it has categorically failed in doing so."