Cancer services in Wales

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Cancer Research UK wants to see improvements in cancer services throughout the UK. We commissioned the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow to explore the ‘state’ of cancer services in Wales.

The report of this research, Where next for cancer services in Wales?, shows cancer outcomes in Wales have improved in recent years: half of all people diagnosed with cancer live for five years after diagnosis. But outcomes could be better.

More people in Wales are being affected by cancer and services need to be able to respond to this increasing demand. Our projection suggests there will soon be more than 20,000 cancer cases each year in Wales.

Our report identifies a number of recommendations which could improve the effectiveness of services and ensure the NHS can meet the needs of patients. These include:

  • The Welsh Government should conduct an urgent review of the access to diagnostic tests for GPs and ensure sufficient capacity;
  • Patients’ waiting times should be reported from the point at which cancer is suspected;
  • A national decision-making process for Individual Patient Funding Requests should be developed to improve consistency;
  • A national commissioning body for specialist treatments, including radiotherapy, would better plan and coordinate services;
  • The establishment of a national dataset for chemotherapy and radiotherapy activity would support ongoing evaluation.

Since we published this report, the Welsh Government has published its new cancer plan – Cancer Delivery Plan 2016-2020. While it reflects some of the priorities identified in this project, it leaves some areas in need of further attention. We will we be working to influence the implementation of the new strategy to ensure it makes the greatest positive impact for patients.

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