New measure for cancer services in Wales is UK first

All cancer patients in Wales are having their waiting time measured from when their cancer is first suspected rather than from when their referral is received in hospital.

The new measure, a first in the UK, aims to speed up diagnosis and ensure people with cancer are treated more quickly. It has been designed and developed by clinicians and is backed by cancer charities. It is hoped that the measure will eventually replace the existing two cancer waiting times, which are based on how a person’s cancer is identified and puts people on either a 31-day pathway or a 62-day pathway.

The first set of statistics for the new measure have now been published and show that 74.4 per cent of people were treated within 62-days of when they were first suspected of having cancer.

The Welsh Government is providing an extra £3m annually to help health boards in Wales implement the new measure.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Cancer is the single biggest cause of premature death in Wales and the UK. It’s highly likely cancer will touch everyone’s lives at some point. I am very pleased Wales is leading the way in the UK by adopting the new Single Cancer Pathway, which has broad support from clinicians and charities. 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. This is a vital step forward in improving cancer outcomes in Wales.”

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