“This is a matter of life and death and it affects us all” – Mabon ap Gwynfor MS

Plaid Cymru has called on Welsh Government to outline a plan for how they intend to expediate the most urgent cases on NHS waiting lists.

The calls come after the latest figures from Welsh Government show that NHS waiting lists have increased by 5,000 patient pathways from the previous month.

Not only is this the third consecutive month there has been an increase, but there has also been an increase of over 1,600 patient pathways opened following a new suspicion of cancer.

For cancer patients waiting for their first treatment, only half (54%) received their first treatment within the target time of 62 days, and this has got worse compared to the previous month. Welsh Government admit this figure is also “low in historical context”.

Responding to the latest waiting times figures, Plaid Cymru spokesperson for health and care, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said:

“5,000 more added to waiting lists, and only 1 in 2 cancer patients receiving their first treatment within target – this is a government that is continuing to fail to get to grips with the grid-lock in our NHS.

“Tackling the long standing problems in our NHS starts and ends with treating staff fairly. Being able to provide staff with fair pay and safe working conditions has to be the first step, because if government is to reduce waiting times, they need the people there to do it.

“Let’s not forget there’s an impact not only on health outcomes from the original health concern, but can cause a toll in so many other ways too – on staff and patients. The impact on mental health of worry, or chronic pain cannot be understated, nor can the continued stress on staff having to work under such pressure.

“It is deeply concerning to see that the targets for seeing cancer patients are worsening. We know that the sooner cancer patients are seen and treated, the better their outcomes. This is an matter of life and death, not just a party-political issue and therefore we must see an improvement in this area as a matter of urgency – after all, it affects us all!

“Plaid Cymru is willing to work collaboratively to ensure better outcomes for people, but we must see a plan from the Welsh Government on how they intend to expediate the most urgent cases on these waiting lists.”