The Member of the Senedd for Monmouth has called for robust and urgent action to tackle ‘horrific’ waiting times facing patients in the Aneurin Bevan Health Board.

Wales NHS data for April 2022 was published yesterday (Thursday June 23), including diagnostic and cancer waiting times.

The NHS diagnostic and therapy service waiting times for April 2022 show an increase in the number of people waiting over 8 weeks for one of 7 key tests* most commonly used to diagnose cancer, compared to pre-pandemic levels.

By the end of April 2022, around 14 times more people were waiting more than 8 weeks for one of these diagnostic tests compared to before the pandemic.

NHS cancer waiting times for April 2022 show that just 56.4% of patients started their first treatment within 62 days of being suspected of having cancer, compared to 67.9% in April 2021. This is the second worst month since the Suspected Cancer Pathway was published in August 2019.

It is also well below the Suspected Cancer Pathway performance target, which aims for 75% of patients to start treatment within 62 days of first suspecting cancer. This target has never been met.

Peter Fox, the Member of the Senedd for Monmouth, said:

“We know that access to treatment as quickly as possible is absolutely vital to raise a cancer sufferer’s chances of survival, but unfortunately these latest statistics make a horrifying read.

“I appreciate the disruptions caused by COVID-19 is having a knock-on effect on our fantastic health service still, but we’re talking of people’s lives so it’s pivotal that we grapple these horrific cancer and diagnostic waiting times, before they worsen even further.

“A robust and urgent package of support is needed to help our fantastic NHS personnel, including a full cancer strategy.”