‘Real’ wait times for cancer services in Wales published
More accurate waiting time figures showing the real time it takes from suspicion of cancer through to treatment are being published today (Thursday 18 January).
This is the first time the Suspected Cancer Pathway (SCP) figures are being reported from a new system which collects patient level data.
As the SCP provides more accurate patient waits the old measures of Urgent Suspected Cancer (USC) and Non-Urgent Suspected Cancer (NUSC) are being retired.
Wales is the first UK nation to report on cancer waiting times in this way. The pathway has been designed to cut waiting times for cancer diagnosis and treatment with the aim that all patients begin their treatment no later than 62 days from the first time cancer is suspected.
The new streamlined approach was announced in November 2018 and was published for the first time alongside the old metrics in August 2019. Since December 2020 no adjustments will be allowed meaning the SCP shows the exact time patients waited.
Today’s published statistics for December 2020 show:
- 1,345 patients started first definitive treatment on the suspected cancer pathway in the month of December 2020
- of these, 882, (65.6 per cent) patients started definitive cancer treatment within 62 days from point of suspicion. This is a positive increase of 2.1 percentage points from November 2020 (63.5 per cent)
- 7,999 patients were confirmed as not having cancer
A more detailed dashboard will also be available from March 2021 which will show more information on waiting times such as the wait to first appointment, the wait to first diagnostic and breakdowns by health board, gender and tumour site.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said:
Cancer will affect one in two of us during our lifetimes, remaining the biggest single cause of premature death in Wales and will touch the lives of most of us at some point.
It is clear that during the pandemic that many patients with suspected cancer have not presented to their GP. It is critical that you should visit your GP as soon as possible if you have any kind of cancer symptoms.
We want to ensure that anyone who is suspected of having cancer in Wales has access to timely and appropriate treatment that will deliver the best possible outcome, or be told as soon as possible that they do not have cancer.
While the figures published today are below the target of 75 per cent that has been set, they are a much more accurate way to measure how long it takes for a suspected cancer to be referred, investigated and for treatment to be started. We know much more work is needed to improve performance.
Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships at Macmillan Cancer Support and Chair of the Wales Cancer Alliance, said:
We welcome the Welsh Government’s continued use of the suspected cancer pathway, which means Wales is the only UK nation to measure cancer waiting times from the point cancer is suspected rather than when a referral is received.
This gives us a more accurate picture of real cancer waiting times and has unearthed hidden waits, which has been even more important during the coronavirus pandemic during which screening and cancer diagnostics have been disrupted.
A cancer diagnosis can’t wait so we would urge anyone with new concerning symptoms, such as an ongoing cough, a new lump or unexplained bleeding, to contact their GP as soon as possible.
Anyone who wants information, support or a chat relating to cancer can contact Macmillan free on 0808 808 0000.
Latest News from
Welsh Government boosts support for valued charities and third sector organisations in Wales05/03/2021 11:05:00
The Welsh Government is once again backing volunteers, charities and third sector organisations in Wales who have played a vital role in response to Covid-19, with additional funding support to help meet their needs.
Town Centres in Wales to benefit from £15.2 million placemaking fund05/03/2021 09:05:00
It’s all part of Welsh Government's £110 million town centre regeneration programme, Transforming Towns.
Business rates holiday extended for 12 months04/03/2021 14:05:00
The rates holiday for the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors in Wales will be extended for a further 12 months, the Finance Minister Rebecca Evans yesterday announced.
Health Minister outlines improvement plans for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board04/03/2021 11:05:00
A new Targeted Intervention framework for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has been published following its de-escalation from special measures in November last year.
Additional funding for hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses04/03/2021 10:05:00
The Welsh Government yesterday announced a further £30 million for hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses affected by ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
More pupils to have opportunity to return to schools before Easter04/03/2021 09:05:00
The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has announced plans for more pupils in Wales to have the opportunity to return to the classroom ahead of the Easter break.
A Budget to protect public services and boost Wales’ economy03/03/2021 14:05:00
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans has unveiled a Final Budget with plans to protect public services and the Welsh economy, providing timely support to protect lives and livelihoods in the months ahead.
Transport Minister rallies north Wales community against plans to weaken rail services03/03/2021 11:05:00
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates has called on community leaders in north Wales to rally support in opposing plans which, if selected, would be detrimental to the region’s rail commuter experience and cross border connectivity.
Wales aims to become world number one recycler as it announces Circular Economy strategy03/03/2021 09:05:00
Welsh Government yesterday published an ambitious strategy to support a green recovery in Wales by transitioning into a ‘circular economy’, as we deal with the triple challenge of the pandemic, climate change and Brexit.