Plaid Cymru calls for greater clarity and urgency on Cancer Plan for Wales

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru’s health and care spokesperson, has called for greater clarity and urgency on Welsh Government plans for Cancer Services in Wales.

The calls come ahead of Cancer Research UK’s annual Senedd reception today (Tuesday 28 June), sponsored by Rhun ap Iorwerth MS.

Mr ap Iorwerth says that patients are “being failed” by a “lack of comprehensive strategy” on how Welsh Government intends to meet its targets.

Welsh Government has recently increased the target for patients to receive their first treatment within 62 days – from 75% to 80%. However, in April, just 56.4% patients started their treatment within the target time, a trend which is declining. 

It has been over a year since Welsh Government published a Quality Statement for Cancer, which replaced the lapsed Cancer Delivery Plan.

This lack of a cancer strategy puts Wales at odds with the World Health Organisation’s recommendations that every country should have one in place.

In answer to recent Written Questions, the Health Minister has suggested that a new cancer plan may be forthcoming, but in different answers has suggested different timeframes for delivery. 

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS will ask the First Minister for an update on Welsh Government’s cancer services action plan today in the Senedd (Tuesday 28 June) during Questions to the First Minister.

Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,

“Wales urgently needs a Cancer action plan to deal specifically with the need for early diagnosis and rapid treatment, and the wider need for patients to be supported throughout the system.

“It’s now sixteen months since the Cancer Quality Statement was published and in that time, patients are less likely to start their first treatment within the target time that when the statement was published. This simply isn’t good enough – put simply, cancer patients are being failed.

“Setting an ambitious target is not enough, it’s imperative that Welsh Government has a clear strategy on how they intend to meet it. But Wales doesn’t have that – instead, we have an incoherent mishmash of programmes and frameworks, and a complete lack of clarity on when a comprehensive strategy might arrive. If we are serious about getting to grips with cancer then we need a Cancer Strategy, and we need it now.”