Fastest Ever Treatment For Cancer Patients
New figures published today show that cancer patients in Wales are receiving treatment faster than ever before.
Statistics for the first quarter of 2008 show that 98 per cent of patients referred by their GP as urgent suspected cancer cases started treatment within two months.
They also show that 99 per cent of patients referred for another condition - but subsequently diagnosed with cancer - started treatment within one month of diagnosis.
It means that virtually every patient diagnosed with some form of cancer started their treatment within the target times and is a significant improvement on last year's performance.
Figures for the first quarter of 2007 showed that 86 per cent of patients referred as urgent suspected cases started treatment within the target time, and 96 per cent of patients referred for another reason but subsequently diagnosed with cancer started treatment within the target.
Cancer is one of Wales's biggest killer diseases. One in three people are diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, with incidence rates varying significantly between different areas within Wales.
Health inequalities in health outcomes is one of the key themes on the agenda at the Faculty of Public Health Conference in Cardiff which First Minister Rhodri Morgan addresses later today.
Speaking ahead of the conference, the First Minister said:
"NHS staff must be congratulated for ensuring that cancer patients are getting treated faster than ever, which can make a huge difference in terms of life or death. Swift diagnosis and treatment also greatly reduces the anxiety experienced by patients and their carers
"These figures are a further improvement on the previous quarter's performance, which themselves represented the fastest ever treatment for cancer patients, and a vast improvement on a year ago.
"The hard work of staff, together with increased investment in cancer services from the Assembly Government, has meant a real improvement in the quality of care patients are receiving. Last March, Edwina Hart, the Health Minister wrote to all Trust chairs explaining the importance of achieving and sustaining these targets and I am delighted to see another improvement."
Today's figures also show that: