Welsh health boss promises to refocus cancer care

In collaboration with the Press Association

The Welsh health minister has promised to refocus the country's cancer care to cut levels of the disease to equal those found in some of the healthiest parts of the EU.

Health minister Dr Brian Gibbons said targets for greater levels of prevention, early detection, improved access and improved services would measure success up to 2011.

Among the pledges is the promise to cut cancer deaths by 20 per cent by 2012 and to be near the bottom of the EU's cancer league table by 2015.

Key to meeting the targets would be cutting the number of preventable cancers by targeting behavioural issues such as smoking, drinking and diet, said Dr Gibbons.

"Cancer is one of the two biggest causes of premature death in Wales. With our ageing population, the demand for cancer care is increasing," he added.

"We need to move the focus to the prevention of problems and to earlier intervention; to relocate services out into the community, where appropriate, and break down artificial barriers at all levels."

The programme builds on recommendations laid out in the recent Designed for Life health strategy statement.