Beating bowel cancer together

All Health Boards in Wales fail to reach 75% target for cancer waiting times

Thursday 21 October 2021

Figures published by NHS Wales today (Thursday 21 October 2021) show that none of the Health Boards in Wales met the 75% target for starting treatment within 62 days of first being suspected of cancer.

The figures also show that only 46.9% started their first definitive treatment for lower gastrointestinal cancer in August 2021, which is the lowest recorded figure since the changes to the reporting of cancer waiting times standards and the 75% target came into effect in December 2020.

The total number of those beginning treatment in the month and those told they do not have cancer fell from 2,445 in July to 2,177 (-11%).

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on bowel cancer services, and endoscopies for all but emergency and essential reasons were initially paused. NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to restart these services but the pause has led to a growing backlog in patients waiting to be seen, diagnosed or start treatment.

Genevieve Edwards, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, says: "Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in Wales, but it's treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early. It's tragic that some patients will face poorer outcomes as a result of having to wait too long before starting treatment.

"The NHS has worked incredibly hard to continue delivering cancer services under great strain but they need the support of the Welsh Government. NHS Wales staff and cancer patients in Wales need the Welsh Government to provide the funding required to ensure the targets set out in the Cancer Quality Statement are met. We call on the Welsh Government to use any additional funds that may come from the Comprehensive Spending Review to prioritise the workforce and kit required to improve cancer diagnosis."

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