Gwent cancer waits for treatment 'best in Wales'
TREATMENT waiting times for cancer patients in Gwent so far this year are the best in Wales.
There are two waiting times targets, depending on how the diagnosis of cancer is made, and on both counts, the vast majority of Gwent patients begin their treatments inside the limit.
People referred to a specialist with suspected cancer and who subsequently receive a diagnosis, should begin treatment within 62 days. The target in Wales is for 98 per cent of such patients to start their treatment inside that timescale.
People referred to a specialist for reasons other than a suspected cancer, but who then receive a cancer diagnosis, should begin their treatment inside 31 days. The target is for 95 per cent of such patients to begin treatment before that 31 days has elapsed.
In Gwent, the 31-day target has been met for more than two years. Wales-wide, close to 800 patients every month are diagnosed whose treatment should begin inside 31 days, with more than 160 a month in Gwent.
The 62-day target has proven more difficult to meet, not only in Gwent but in other parts of Wales.
But during the six months to August inclusive, the 95 per cent target was exceeded in Gwent, and during January-July, performance against the target here was the best among Wales' seven health board areas.
Every month, around 390 patients across Wales are diagnosed whose treatment should begin inside 62 days. The rate in Gwent is almost 60 a month.
Despite the good performance in Gwent, there are cancer specialties where capacity struggles to meet demand.
Head and neck cancers is one, and an existing action plan is being reviewed to try to improve the situation.
Another is urological cancers, where more money is being put into speeding up access to tests.
There are also waiting times problems for lung cancer patients who require treatment outside of Gwent.