GWENT’S health board met its targets for the timely beginning of cancer treatments for patients during February — but Wales-wide these targets were missed.

There are two targets for cancer treatments, based on how the cancer is diagnosed.

If a patient’s disease is diagnosed as a result of a referral through the urgent suspected cancer route, then at least 95 per cent of these patients should begin their treatment inside 62 days.

But if a patient is not diagnosed through this route, for instance if their cancer is found as a result of treatment for another illness, then at least 98 per cent should begin their treatment inside 31 days.

Insufficient capacity to meet demand is the biggest obstacle to meeting these targets.

Urological, breast, and head and neck cancers have presented the biggest challenges in Gwent in recent months, but more investment is being made in diagnostics to speed up testing, an action plan has been agreed to tackle issues in urology, and facilities at Nevill Hall Hospital are available to help reduce waiting times for patients with suspected breast cancer.

In February Aneurin Bevan Health Board was among four of the six health boards in Wales that offer cancer treatments to hit the 31-day target, with 99 per cent of patients beginning treatment on time.

It was one of just two health boards to hit the 62-day target, with a success rate of 96 per cent.

Wales-wide, the 31-day target was hit, but the 62-day treatment rate was just 90 per cent.