This is welcome news, as the Wales Cancer Alliance has been calling for a detailed plan for cancer services since the Cancer Delivery Plan for Wales came to an end in 2020. The Cancer Improvement Plan for Wales outlines the steps NHS Wales needs to take to improve cancer outcomes, and enhance the experience of people with cancer, over the next three years.
The COVID19 pandemic derailed our NHS in its efforts to deliver a great deal of Wales’ cancer service improvements and the impact that the pandemic has had on our collective ambitions has been significant.
The Wales Cancer Alliance represents 28 cancer charities working alongside and with NHS Wales, helping to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. We are pleased that as an Alliance we were invited to contribute to the plan – and more importantly – that we were able to engage with over 160 people who have been directly affected by cancer, and feed that into the latter stages of the plan’s development. It is critical that services are developed to meet their needs.
“We now shift our focus to the implementation of the plan.”
We now shift our focus to the implementation of the plan. We look forward to working alongside and with the Wales Cancer Network, local health boards and other partners to make the plan a reality and be part of a system delivering the best possible outcomes for people in Wales affected by cancer.
Members of the Wales Cancer Alliance were pleased to meet with Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services, earlier this month.
It was a first chance for our member organisations to sit down with the Minister and discuss the forthcoming Cancer Services Action Plan since it was announced in May. The Action Plan will play an important role in delivering the ambitions of the Quality Statement for Cancer, and the Minister shared her expectations for what it should deliver and how it should inform the planning and delivery of cancer services at a health board level.
The Alliance set out our views on the Action Plan, highlighting the need for it to be genuinely co-produced with the third sector, health and care professionals, and people living with cancer. We also had the opportunity to raise some key areas we’d like to see included in the Action Plan – such as a specific focus on young people with cancer, and the less survivable cancers – ahead of further opportunities we’ll have to feed into its content before it is published.
Other topics discussed included the immediate priority of recovering cancer services from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, progress to establish an NHS Executive, and ensuring Wales is adopting new innovations in diagnostics and treatment at pace. We are grateful to the Minister for her time and members are looking forward to meeting with her again in September to further discuss the Cancer Services Action Plan and how we can ensure this delivers for people with cancer across Wales.
In response to the Welsh Government’s statement on NHS Pressures a spokesperson for the Wales Cancer Alliance said: “This is a worrying time for people living with cancer and those going through the process of receiving a diagnosis.
“We would strongly encourage anyone who is worried or has anxieties about their cancer treatment to speak directly with their clinical team.
“It is also important to remember that at this time the NHS in Wales is still open for business for those who need it most. If you or a loved one has new or persistent symptoms, do not hesitate to get in touch with your GP.
“These are clearly exceptional times. Health boards who feel they have no other choice but to take these exceptional measures and disrupt cancer treatment, must work on a regional basis with other boards to ensure safe and appropriate cancer treatment and diagnostics can take place and disruption is minimised, and is as brief as reasonably possible. It is also essential they provide clear communication to patients who may face any disruption.
“After the disruption caused to cancer services in the first wave of the pandemic, it’s important health boards and the Welsh Government learn what has worked well in ensuring cancer care can continue. This means utilising the independent sector and protected ‘green sites’ (Covid secure) to ensure people with cancer have access to the right treatment
“Our 20 cancer charities provide support to people living with cancer 365 days a year. To access support from our organisations please visit www.walescanceralliance.org/support“
For further information, or to request
interviews with a representative from the Wales Cancer Alliance in English or
in Welsh, please contact [email protected]