Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board has introduced new initiatives in order to meet cancer waiting time targets. 

The latest cancer treatment waiting times data marks a full year since the Welsh Government launched its new national target, in December 2020.

The targets set by Welsh Government are that at least 75 percent of patients would start treatment within 62 days of first being suspected of cancer.

Since December 2020, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has had the highest percentage out of all the health boards, in eight of the 13 months. 

Despite that, they have yet to meet the Government target. 

READ MORE: Retiring cancer nurse leaves lasting legacy

The percentage reached it's highest in June 2021, when 74 percent of patients were seen in the scheduled time. 

The worst percentage recorded by Betsi was in September 2021, when 64.6 percent of cancer patients were seen in the 62 days. 

The Leader: Jo WhiteheadJo Whitehead

Jo Whitehead, chief executive at BCUHB, said: “Our staff and services continue to strive to keep waiting times to a minimum for all patients referred to us with a potential cancer diagnosis.

"The last two years has continued to bring challenges associated with the pandemic but staff have continued to work hard to enable us to see as many patients as we can, as quickly and safely as possible.

READ MORE: Maelor Hopsital opens emergency care unit

She added: “During the last year our monthly performance has ranged from 64 per cent to 74 per cent, making us the best performing Health Board in Wales most months. 

"However, we are still not achieving the Welsh Government target of 75 per cent of patients treated within 62 days of suspicion of cancer and so we have introduced a number of initiatives with the aim of achieving and exceeding this target in 2022-23. 

READ MORE: Wrexham Hospital receives praise after Boxing Day operation

"These include investment in one-stop diagnostic clinics, straight to test pathways and additional cancer clinical nurse specialist support for patients who have a cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

The Leader: Macmillan have expressed their concerns over the length of waiting times for cancer patients. (Pic: PA)Macmillan have expressed their concerns over the length of waiting times for cancer patients. (Pic: PA)

Macmillan has now voiced concerns that Wales’ cancer care system is struggling to cope with this increase in demand.

Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said: “The latest waiting times data marks a full year since the Welsh Government’s new cancer treatment targets came into effect – targets that have yet to be met. 

READ MORE: Almost 300,000 unable to see cancer specialists

“No-one should underestimate the huge efforts that cancer care staff in Wales have made over the course of this pandemic to make sure people with cancer continue to receive the best possible care, but the fact remains that Wales has had cancer targets in a number of different guises over recent years and not a single one of them has been consistently met.

“That is not the failing of staff on the front-line. It is a failing of a system that desperately needs strategic guidance and significant workforce funding to get it back on track."