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Wales Cancer Network publishes Cancer Improvement Plan for NHS Wales 2023-2026

A network graphic.

17 February 2023

The Wales Cancer Network has launched a three-year improvement plan, which is set to benefit patients and cancer healthcare professionals across Wales.

The action plan aims to improve cancer patient outcomes and enhance patient experience. It focuses on preventing cancer, diagnosing it earlier and faster, treating patients with the most effective treatments and supporting them and their carers through and beyond this cancer pathway.

The Cancer Improvement Plan outlines how national cancer waiting times for treatment will be reduced, through quick one-stop diagnostic centres, delivering National Optimal Pathways for cancer (adhering to Welsh Government targets), the use of technology and innovations and national collaborative working across health board boundaries.

It describes what the NHS and its partners in Wales will do to improve the delivery and accessibility of effective cancer treatments including surgery, radiotherapy, systemic anti-Cancer therapy and supportive care. 

The Cancer Improvement Plan also outlines plans for national guidance for patients who are living with cancer that cannot be cured or who are dying from cancer, to ensure that they receive an improved standard of individual personalised and where necessary end of life care.

Healthcare professionals across Wales, cancer patients, wider stakeholders, Welsh Government and the Wales Cancer Alliance have all collaborated to support the production of the plan.

Professor Tom Crosby, Clinical Director for Cancer in Wales said:

“Cancer and wider healthcare services are unprecedented pressure. It is beholden on all those leading, planning and delivering cancer services to do everything possible to deliver the best possible patient outcomes during challenging times.

“The good news is that we have a good idea how to improve patient outcomes and this Improvement Plan describes what we need to do to achieve what the public and patients of Wales deserve.”

Eluned Morgan, the Minister for Health and Social Services, said:

“With one in two of us developing cancer of some kind during our lifetime, cancer will affect all of our lives at some point. For those people who develop cancer, we need to ensure that quality services are available to support and treat them quickly and appropriately to ensure the most positive health outcomes possible.

"According to the findings of the Wales Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2020, 92% of respondents gave a high score for their overall care, but we still have more work to do. The Cancer Services Improvement Plan will help us build on existing cancer services to improve patient outcomes and experiences, prevent and detect cancer earlier and reduce waiting times.

"This has been a very challenging time for our health service, but I am pleased to see that work is being done to improve cancer services. We will continue to invest in cancer services and work with the NHS to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes."

Read the full plan.

Read the summary document.

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