Thank you very much for contacting me about a Welsh Cancer Recovery Plan.
As I am sure you will be aware, my colleagues and I in the Welsh Conservatives have been consistently concerned about the increasing numbers of patients on waiting lists in Wales, and have repeatedly raised the necessity of a recovery plan for cancer services with both the Welsh Labour Health Minister and the First Minister. However, it is incredibly disheartening to learn from the Health Minister that it would be “foolish” to have a recovery plan in place until after the pandemic is over.
This is despite the fact that other NHS services in the UK, such as NHS England, have a Cancer Recovery Plan already in place. Welsh Conservatives are of the view that it is of extreme urgency to implement such a Plan, given the drop in Welsh cancer referrals during 2020, backlogs in treatment meaning that services will have to run at 120-130% of capacity to catch up, and the news of a “missing” 3,500 cancer patients from Welsh NHS services.
To ensure that we do reach pre-pandemic levels of cancer treatment and survival, my colleagues and I in the Welsh Conservatives also believe in the short term, it is critical that Wales has an expanded number of COVID-protected cancer hubs; public awareness campaigns to ensure the public knows it is safe to ask for treatment; and regular testing of asymptomatic staff.
Finally, on ensuring 75% of cancer patients survive more than 10 years by 2030, I assure you that Welsh Conservatives will keep this commitment, as longer term, a Welsh Conservative Government would be looking to invest in Rapid Diagnosis Centres, increase the NHS workforce including cancer, new treatments and preventative services which will help meet this aim.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me.