A new ‘Single Cancer Pathway’ will be the way to improve outcomes and experiences for cancer patients in Wales

A major change is being introduced across every health board in Wales with the aim to reduce the time that patients have to wait to receive cancer diagnostic tests and for their treatment to start. The plan is to introduce a new single waiting time target for cancer patients

The way cancer times are recorded in Wales doesn’t always highlight the difficult journey some patients face, the SCP aims to ensure the majority of patients presenting with a suspicion of cancer are treated within 62 days.

Prof. Tom Crosby, Medical Director for the Wales Cancer Network said:

“The SCP is the culmination of three years of work to change how health boards identify and report cancers, and to improve patients’ cancer experiences – from the time patients are suspected of having cancer to when they are told they do not have cancer, or until their treatment starts.

“The best international evidence shows that when you provide more open and quicker access to diagnostic tests and treatment, the better the outcomes are for cancer patients. Overall, patients have a good experience of cancer services in Wales but survival rates are poor, in comparison to similarly developed countries. The overarching ambition of the SCP is to close this gap by placing focus on waiting times, cancer service reform and a relentless drive to detect cancer at an earlier stage.

“Today’s announcement will drive the development of an intelligent information system for understanding the real demand for cancer diagnostic tests and enabling health boards to better plan their cancer services to meet that need. It creates a platform for providing a world-class diagnostic and treatment system across Wales that gives patients the very best chance of beating cancer, by making sure they have easier access to diagnostic tests, and getting their treatment plans underway at rapid pace.”

Dr Tracey Cooper, Chief Executive, Public Health Wales Cancer and Executive Lead for the Wales Cancer Implementation Group said:

“The SCP is a real opportunity for us to transform how we provide our cancer services. Not only will it help us to improve the outcomes for our patients but it will also improve how our patients experience their care. A substantial amount of work has gone into preparing for the SCP and there is a lot more to be done, but we have the ingredients, the energy and the focus to make significant changes to transforming cancer care for the people of wales.”

Dana Knoyle, Clinical Lead for the Single Cancer Pathway said:

“Patients should have access to the best possible treatment without delay to ensure they have a good quality of life and ultimately the best possible chance of survival. We also know that patients want physical, emotional and social support and clear advice about what to expect when they go through diagnostic tests and treatment. The SCP will ensure that patients are supported at every stage of their cancer journey.”