Cancer Research UK Report Highlights Inadequate Cancer Care Standards in Wales

2010 Medi 28 1:43 PM

A new report released by Cancer Research UK has highlighted inadequacies in Wales' approach to cancer prevention and treatment and suggests that Wales is now slipping behind both Scotland and England.

The report highlights the importance of cancer plans in setting direction, ensuring best use of resources to reduce cancer incidence and mortality, improving cancer outcomes.Worryingly, one of its first substantive overarching recommendations is that: "A more comprehensive plan should be developed to ensure consistent delivery, implementation and integration across Wales." (Page 4)

Commenting, Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: "Cancer Research UK are well respected body and the Welsh Assembly Government needs to consider their findings very carefully.

"This report adds to an increasing body of evidence suggesting that in important areas in healthcare, Wales is now slipping behind England, despite spending more per head on our health services.

"The criticisms of the Labour/Plaid Government's stewardship of the NHS in Wales and the failure to develop proper strategies to improve the prevention and treatment of cancer are stark. The Government must now set out how it will address the failures identified in the report."

Whilst the high level cancer strategies adopted in England and Scotland were well regarded, the report notes:

"Interviews conducted in Wales demonstrated a markedly different picture. Healthcare professionals and policy-makers felt that cancer has not been given enough priority in Wales"

"I am not sure where the performance management role lies. Who is going to make the new Health Boards do these things." (Page 15)

"The Assembly gave £4.5 million to implement the 2005 Cancer Standards, which across Wales is not very much really." (Page 15)

Other recommendations and concerns highlighted in the report include:

Screening is highlighted as an area of particular concern: "

Access to radiotherapy in parts of Wales is highlighted as an issue: " "There remain concerns about reduced capacity due to staffing issues in the more rural North Wales" (Page 46

Chemotherapy and access to medicines: "

"Participants at the expert group meeting in Wales suggested that there were problems in planning for the delivery of chemotherapy services. In particular, they suggested that there were problems in assessing demand for chemotherapy." (Page 50)

Information: "

ENDS

1. Improving cancer outcomes: An analysis of the implementation of the UK's cancer strategies 20062010 was published by Cancer Research UK earlier this month

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