Cancer waiting time overhaul trial in Wales

image copyrightScience Photo Library
image captionHealth Minister Mark Drakeford is reviewing a range of targets across the Welsh NHS

An overhaul of the way cancer waiting times are measured is expected to be trialled throughout Wales.

At the moment the NHS is judged against two cancer targets.

Following requests from doctors, it is expected a "single cancer pathway" will be trialled and it will be measured against the current system.

The Welsh government will announce details of the pilot project during a briefing later.

The Health Minister Mark Drakeford has already announced an overhaul of A&E and ambulance service targets.

Urgent treatment

The Welsh government has said the new measures will give a better picture of whether cancer patients receive timely treatment regardless how the disease is diagnosed.

But opposition parties have argued that in looking at new targets the Welsh government is admitting defeat on the current measures.

At the moment, if a patient is referred to a specialist who suspects they have the disease and they require urgent treatment, then 95% of confirmed cases should start treatment within 62 days.

In February, 90.5% of patients in Wales received treatment within that time period.

The second current target involves patients who are not considered urgent cases but are subsequently diagnosed with the disease. It means 98% of those patients should start treatment within 31 days of that point.

This target was met in February, with 98.2% of patients being treated within the time frame.

The proposals will be tested in coming months by Wales' seven health boards.

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