“Waiting time targets for urgent cancer cases in Wales are still being missed, despite a pledge they would be met by March. The Welsh government target is for 95% of patients to see a specialist in 62 days, but the latest figure is 84%. Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board had 69.9% of patients start treatment in time while Aneurin Bevan achieved 98%. The Welsh government said most patients are seen within the target…..”
Most patients means over 50% – is that good enough? The problem with cancer is that it is so diverse, and whilst target groups which have had lots of money like breast cancer do well, rarer cancers like thyroid or kidney have much more variable courses – they are not in specific target groups. If we rationed out high volume cheap services (paracetamol) we would have more money to ensure all cancers were treated quickly. It is pertinent that Wales does not have choice. I doubt if the trusts which fail to meet the targets are offering their patients alternatives, as in England.
The politicians need to answer this question. “Are there any services which are so cheap that they feel all patients, whatever their circumstances, should pay for?” If there are, then at what level of finance? My opening suggestion is equivalent to two pints of beer and a packet of 20 cigarettes, which would of course increase with inflation!