GWENT’S cancer services performed well last year as part of a positive Wales-wide effort toward making improvements in the way patients receive their treatment and care, according to the findings of a new report.

The Cancer Delivery Plan annual report for 2013 charts services’ progress against the Welsh government’s cancer strategy, covering a range of areas such as treatment waiting times, diagnosis at each cancer stage, involvement in clinical research, and patients’ donations of samples to the Wales Cancer Bank.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has maintained a place at the forefront of providing timely treatments for its patients, both in terms of 62-day and 31-day targets. Patients diagnosed through a suspected cancer referral should begin treatment within 62 days. The health board has been the best performing in Wales in terms of delivering this target for much of past three years.

Ninety-five per cent of patients whose cancer is diagnosed as a result of treatment for, or investigation of, another health problem should begin treatment within 31 days, and again, the health board’s performance compares well with its counterparts across Wales. Across Wales, more people are now receiving a diagnosis of each stage of their cancer, a situation mirrored in Gwent.

In 2012 in Gwent one-in-four patients received a diagnosis of each cancer stage, but this had risen to more than a third by the end of 2013.

More Gwent patients are also agreeing to donate tissue and blood samples to the Wales Cancer Bank, which is building up a resource for researchers to help understand the make-up and workings of different cancers, and how different treatments might thus work for different people. Five years ago, fewer than five per cent of Gwent cancer patients donated, but this has now risen to around12 per cent.

Gwent patients are also contributing to an increase in the amount of people taking part in high quality clinical research, Across south east Wales, almost one in five patients now get involved in research programmes.

Developments in cancer care in Gwent are also highlighted in the report, including the acute oncology service pilot project launched last summer, and a patient care plan pilot scheme.