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Wales sets faster target for cancer waiting times

New target aims to speed up cancer diagnosis and treatment
Illustration of figures waiting in a hospital setting. Wales has become the first country in the UK to introduce a single waiting time target for patients with cancer to help speed up diagnosis and treatment.

New target aims to speed up cancer diagnosis and treatment

Wales has become the first country in the UK to introduce a single waiting time target for patients with cancer to help speed up diagnosis and treatment.

All patients will now have their waiting times measured as 62 days from when the disease is first suspected to the start of treatment, instead of starting from when they are referred to hospital, putting them on a faster pathway.

This will eventually replace the two existing cancer waiting times of 31 or 62 days based on how a patients cancer is identified a model that has been used throughout the UK for many years.

Health boards supported to improve performance

The first set of figures to be issued since the target was introduced, covering June, showed that 74.4% of

New target aims to speed up cancer diagnosis and treatment

Illustration of figures waiting in a hospital setting. Wales has become the first country in the UK to introduce a single waiting time target for patients with cancer to help speed up diagnosis and treatment.
Picture: iStock

Wales has become the first country in the UK to introduce a single waiting time target for patients with cancer to help speed up diagnosis and treatment.

All patients will now have their waiting times measured as 62 days from when the disease is first suspected to the start of treatment, instead of starting from when they are referred to hospital, putting them on a faster pathway.

This will eventually replace the two existing cancer waiting times of 31 or 62 days based on how a patient’s cancer is identified – a model that has been used throughout the UK for many years.

Health boards supported to improve performance

The first set of figures to be issued since the target was introduced, covering June, showed that 74.4% of 1,374 patients diagnosed started treatment within the 62-day target.

Wales health minister Vaughan Gething said the move was a vital step forward in improving cancer outcomes in Wales.

‘We are supporting health boards to improve performance against the new measure and I’m confident it will lead to an improved service for people affected by cancer,’ Mr Gething said.

Focus on improving diagnostic element

The Welsh Government is providing an extra £3 million a year to help health boards implement the new measure.

The funding will focus on improving the diagnostic element of the pathway, so that people can more quickly have cancer ruled out or receive their diagnosis and begin treatment.

Macmillan Cancer Support head of services for Wales Richard Pugh said: ‘This more transparent approach will highlight where there are delays and what’s caused them, to drive improvement to ensure every person diagnosed with cancer in Wales has timely treatment which meets their needs.’


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