The Welsh Government released its first official cancer plan yesterday in order to improve treatment rates in Wales.
As part of the new scheme called Together Against Cancer, each health board in Wales will be expected to produce its own cancer delivery plan. Patients will be asked to rate their experience of the care they receive, and health boards will be expected to act on that feedback to improve quality of care.
The Welsh Government plans to improve cancer treatment with a new scheme called Together Against Cancer
The new plan also aims to reduce the incidence of cancer between the most and least deprived communities in Wales. Wales has some of the highest rates of cancer in the UK and Western Europe, and the incidence of lung cancer is particularly high in deprived communities.
In total, there are more than 16,000 cases of cancer diagnosed in the country each year, and around 8,400 deaths. Experts predict that by 2030, 250,000 people in Wales will either be living with or after cancer.
Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “Lifestyle choices have a huge impact on cancer rates and it is vital we bring down levels of obesity, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse across Wales. Health boards need to support people to reduce their risk of developing cancer, and individuals must also play their part in looking after their own health.”
The Welsh Government has now set the target of reducing deaths from cancer in people under 75 to 106 deaths per 100,000 people by 2012.
Cancer charities welcomed the new plan, but there are still concerns that the aims would be compromised by budget cuts in the NHS and the postcode lottery for cancer drugs. Darren Millar, the Conservative shadow minister for health and social services, said:
“Whilst I welcome the publication of the Welsh Government’s long overdue cancer action plan, there is no doubt that Labour’s health service cuts are going to make the plan incredibly difficult for the NHS to deliver."
“Ministers also need to set up a cancer drugs fund to end the postcode lottery in access and allow Welsh patients to access the 24 life-extending cancer medicines, readily available in England, but denied to patients in Labour’s NHS.”
Without a cancer drugs fund in Wales, Welsh patients will still be denied access to expensive cancer treatments. One of the benefits of private medical insurance is access to treatment not available on the NHS. Compare health insurance quotes online now to ensure you receive the best healthcare in the future.
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