Political Parties Have Their Say on the Future of Cancer Care; Health Is One of the Main Priorities for Voters Ahead of May's Assembly Elections - but There Are Differing Views as to How Cancer Services, in Particular, Should Be Run in Wales. in These Edited Pieces, Spokespeople Outline Their Plans for Cancer Care

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 2, 2016 | Go to article overview

Political Parties Have Their Say on the Future of Cancer Care; Health Is One of the Main Priorities for Voters Ahead of May's Assembly Elections - but There Are Differing Views as to How Cancer Services, in Particular, Should Be Run in Wales. in These Edited Pieces, Spokespeople Outline Their Plans for Cancer Care


We all know someone who has been affected by cancer, which is why cancer has been a priority for this Welsh Labour Government.

And if we are elected by the people of Wales in May, it will continue to be a priority for us in the next Welsh Labour Government.

We have made significant progress in the fight against cancer in Wales. Survival rates are improving, more people are being diagnosed at an earlier stage, people have faster access to treatment, to new forms of treatment and to support from charities like Tenovus, during and after treatment.

But we know there is more we can do if we are to improve survival rates to match European levels.

We must do more to reduce inequalities in outcomes between people who live in the most affluent and most deprived parts of Wales and we must do more to minimise the fear which is still associated with a cancer diagnosis.

Spending on cancer by NHS Wales is at a record high according to the latest available figures, standing at PS380m in 2013-14 or PS123 per person.

More than 70% of people diagnosed with cancer survive for at least one year and more than 50% survive for at least five years - Wales has the fastest-increasing survival rates in the UK.

There has been a steady decline in the overall rate of people dying from cancer since devolution.

And performance against our two cancer treatment targets is improving steadily. We will continue to build on this progress.

We know that new medicines and treatments are being discovered, developed and tested on an almost weekly basis.

With new drugs come the challenge of how to pay for them - many new medicines cost hundreds of thousands of pounds per person.

The next Welsh Labour Government will create a new treatment fund to support people with lifethreatening conditions.

he next Welsh Government must adopt a clear, comprehensive Tapproach to improve cancer treatments for patients and take the fight to this evil disease.

While there have been improvements in cancer care in recent years, these have been hampered by Welsh Labour's record-breaking cuts to the health budget which have resulted in patients waiting too long for diagnostic tests and not getting access to treatments they need.

The statistics speak for themselves. Wales is at the bottom of the European league tables when it comes to cancer patient outcomes and performance here is often worse than elsewhere in the UK.

Take diagnostic tests, for example. We know that one in five patients in Wales wait longer than eight weeks for a diagnostic test; in England it's approximately one in 50.

And once diagnosed, too many cancer patients are waiting too long for treatment, with the Welsh Labour Government missing its urgent cancer referral target for every single month since Carwyn Jones became First Minister in 2009.

There is also the matter of access to modern cancer treatments. A study by Bristol University found that Welsh patients are seven times less likely to be able to access modern cancer drugs than their counterparts in England and as a result some patients have had to raid their life savings or relocate across the border to access the treatment which is available routinely in England.

We'd make tackling cancer a greater priority by establishing a new PS100m Cancer Patients' Fund in Wales to improve patient outcomes.

The fund would put an end to the current postcode lottery which patients and their families face by levelling the playing field between Wales and other parts of the UK in terms of the availability of modern life-transforming cancer drugs and radiotherapy treatments.

We'd establish a national Mobile Cancer Treatment Service, reducing travel times for patients who need to access chemotherapy and other cancer appointments.

The fund would increase investment in diagnostic capacity across the country so that patients can receive a cancer diagnosis or the all clear within 28 days of referral. …

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Political Parties Have Their Say on the Future of Cancer Care; Health Is One of the Main Priorities for Voters Ahead of May's Assembly Elections - but There Are Differing Views as to How Cancer Services, in Particular, Should Be Run in Wales. in These Edited Pieces, Spokespeople Outline Their Plans for Cancer Care
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