NDM7842 - Member Debates

Tabled on 18/11/2021 | For debate on 01/12/2021

To propose that the Senedd:

1. Welcomes the Welsh Government’s single cancer pathway approach.

2. Recognises:

a) that cancer is the leading cause of death in Wales and that 19,600 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in Wales (2016-2018).

b) that the challenges facing cancer services in Wales have been compounded by COVID-19, with around 1,700 fewer people beginning cancer treatment between April 2020 and March 2021.

c) that NHS Wales cancer waiting times for July 2021 show that the percentage of patients receiving their first treatment within 62 days of first being suspected of having cancer was at 61.8 per cent, which is well below the suspected cancer pathway performance target of 75 per cent.

d) that even before the pandemic, Wales was experiencing significant gaps in the workforce that diagnose and treat cancer, such as in imaging, endoscopy, pathology, non-surgical oncology and specialist nurses.

e) that without multi-year investment in training and employing more staff to fill current vacancies, Wales will not have the frontline staff and specialists needed to address the cancer backlog, cope with future demand, or make progress towards ambitions to diagnose and treat more cancers at an early stage.

f) that the Wales Cancer Alliance criticised the quality statement for cancer, published in March 2021, for not setting a clear vision to support cancer services to recover from the impact of the pandemic and further improve survival. 

g) that Wales will soon be the only UK nation without a cancer strategy, which the World Health Organization recommends all countries have.

3. Welcomes the successful rapid diagnostic clinic pilots in Swansea Bay University Health Board and Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, and that the Wales Cancer Network has provided funding to all other health boards to develop rapid diagnostic clinics.

4. Calls on the Welsh Government to:

a) provide an update on the next steps for the quality statement for cancer, including ambitious targets and mechanisms for tracking progress investment for staff, equipment and infrastructure;

b) address the long-standing staff shortages within cancer and diagnostic services;

c) consider how the recommendations in Professor Sir Mike Richards review of diagnostic services in England could be applied in Wales.