Hywel Dda Health Council Tackles Cancer Patient Wait Times
Hywel Dda responded to the latest health statistics showing cancer patients in the health board area have the longest waiting times in Wales.
Some 48.0% of cancer patients in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire started their first definitive treatment for the disease within the 62-day target – up from 68.6% of patients in April 2021.
Andrew Carruthers, Chief Operating Officer of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We sincerely apologize to anyone who is currently experiencing a delay in their care or treatment and would like to reassure people that urgent patient care with suspected cancer continue to function and have done so during the recent pandemic.
“We have worked hard to maintain appointments and investigations for urgent referrals of suspected cancer as we continue to deal with the backlog of patients awaiting care that has developed during the pandemic.
“We always aim to follow all urgent investigations of suspected cancer as a priority and investigations are prioritized if, at the time of presentation, symptoms suggest cancer. If anyone has any concerns or symptoms they should contact their GP immediately.
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“Hywel Dda remains committed to continuing to provide essential cancer services in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire and the following steps have been taken in recent months to improve performance and access to care:
- We have maintained access to chemotherapy services within two weeks of the decision to treat a confirmed cancer diagnosis
- Improvement plans continue to be implemented across a range of tumor pathways, which will reduce wait times and the number of patients waiting to access care
- A Rapid Diagnostic Clinic (RDC) was launched within the health board in October 2021 to improve access for patients referred with non-specific symptoms of cancer
- We have introduced a new approach to screening patients with suspected colorectal cancer
- We continue to increase the availability of digital solutions to support faster access to care with an increasing number of patients receiving virtual appointments
- We have established a central point of contact to coordinate urgent cancer suspect radiology appointments and reports to maximize current capacity
- A helpline (01267 227904) is available to provide advice and support to affected cancer patients
“Anyone who has concerns about their care or treatment can seek help from the helpline above or our patient helpline by calling 0300 0200 159 or emailing hdhb [email protected]”