Wales 2016: a quick view of Welsh political parties commitments around cancer care

time to deliver.pngAs election fever reaches a crescendo, and with just over three weeks to go, all the main political parties in Wales have now launched their manifestos ahead of polling day.  Soon we will have 60 new Assembly Members in Cardiff Bay representing our communities from all over Wales.

With more people than ever being diagnosed with cancer and incidence set to increase to 250,000 living with and beyond cancer by 2030, we are delighted to see cancer high on the political agenda.

There are a plethora of new, improved and ambitious policy propositions from all parties which would go a long way to meet the needs of each and every individual and their families who are devastated by cancer.

So what could we expect from each party if they were to form a Government after 5 May?

Below we run through the highlights of each party’s commitments around cancer:

Read Plaid Cymru’s Manifesto here.

Highlights from Plaid Cymru’s manifesto include:

  • Introduce multi-disciplinary diagnostic centres and make it easier for GPs and other health professionals to refer patients to these.
  • In suspected cancer cases patients will have access to tests and diagnosis within 28 days. They will develop three Urgent Diagnostic centres to enable quicker tests, meaning target time for someone to begin treatment (along the urgent route) would not be more than 45 days, compared to the current 62.
  • Ensure all people diagnosed with cancer have access to a key worker to support patients throughout treatment and refer to advice on finances, employment and their psychological needs.
  • Introduce a Scottish style initiative to improve performance on waiting times and a statutory Patient Treatment Guarantee
  • Introduce public health policies aimed at reducing lifestyle related illness
  • Establish a £50million New Medicines and Treatments Fund for Wales.
  • Create National Specialist Panels to assess individual patient access to new drugs and treatments.

Read the Green Party’s Manifesto here

The Greens do not specifically focus on cancer, they highlight their priorities for health and social care within a wider Wales strategic context, with a particular focus on preventing ill health.  They commit to delivering “more integrated, more efficient and more person centred services” within health and social care.  They have a focus on delivering “institutional changes within the NHS to meet the needs of the population and to improve levels of accountability”.

Read the Welsh Liberal Democrat Party’s Manifesto here.

Highlights from the Welsh Liberal Democrat Party Manifesto include:

  • Close the gap in cancer care between the best and the rest to reduce variations in cancer care.
  • Establish a national cancer awareness campaign.
  • Appoint a national cancer director to fully implement the National Cancer Plan to improve standards of cancer care
  • Bring chemotherapy closer to people’s homes through mobile units and community hospitals.

And some broader points of interest where they have highlighted commitments which would include benefits to people affected by cancer:

  • Develop an all-Wales Individual Patient Funding Requests (IPFR) panel and remove the ‘exceptionality’ hurdle which prevents many patients’ access to drugs that their clinician thinks could help them.
  • Put the Welsh NHS at the forefront of medical advances, in particular into stratified medicines, by extending the Health Technologies Fund to support the take up of new medicines and establish a new Office of Life Sciences.
  • Ensure we respect the wishes of people at the end of life by ensuring proper palliative care and advanced care planning.
  • Introduce a Carers’ Well-being Fund to provide additional breaks for carers

Read the Welsh Conservative Party’s Manifesto here.

Highlights from the Welsh Conservative Party manifesto include:

  • Introduce a £100 million Cancer Patients’ Fund for Wales.
  • Improve access to modern cancer drugs.
  • Establish a national Mobile Cancer Treatment Service.
  • Improve access to modern radiotherapy treatments.
  • Reduce the referral to diagnosis target for patients to 28 days by 2020.
  • Provide a follow-up cancer appointment guarantee.
  • Appoint a Cancer Patients’ Champion.

And some broader points of interest where they havve highlighted commitments which would include benefits to people affected by cancer:

  • Establish a Patients’ Choice Charter, giving people the right to choose their GP and hospital, and exercise choice in transfers of care and access to treatment.
  • Introduce a ‘scores on the doors’ hospital rating system to give patients confidence in NHS performance.
  • Respect the individual wishes of patients about receiving palliative care.
  • Provide every patient with a named and accountable consultant on discharge from hospital.
  • Establish directly elected Health Commissioners for each health board, giving patients a greater voice in the Welsh NHS.
  • Establish an independent NHS Performance Unit, responsible for setting sensible targets backed by patients and clinicians.
  • Commission a fully independent inquiry into the NHS in Wales to identify poor standards.

Read the UK Independent Party’s Manifesto here. 

Highlights from the UKIP manifesto include:

  • Treat cancer as a top priority and develop a new and enhanced cancer strategy for Wales
  • Assign a specialist cancer nurse to everyone who is given a cancer diagnosis as their key worker in the acute stages of treatment
  • Ensure every person with cancer has a full needs assessment and written care plan
  • Enable each person diagnosed with cancer to receive timely and accurate information and support

And some broader points of interest where they have highlighted commitments which would include benefits to people affected by cancer:

  • Ensure that everyone who needs palliative care has access to it
  • Develop community services for those living with a terminal illness
  • Conduct a bi-annual survey of bereaved people to give a fuller picture of end-of-life care in Wales
  • Improve Welsh language provision for dementia and end of life care, particularly in areas where Welsh is widely spoken, so that first language Welsh speakers with dementia or at end of life are able to communicate in maximum comfort

Read the Welsh Labour Party’s manifesto here.

Highlights from the Welsh Labour Party manifesto include:

  • A new treatment fund for cancer and other life limiting illnesses
  • Improving diagnostic rates and outcomes and learning from the best in Europe
  • Build a new Velindre Cancer Centre
  • Publish the second all Wales Patient Cancer Survey

And some broader points of interest where they have highlighted commitments which would include benefits to people affected by cancer:

  • A continued focus on quality as per the outcomes of the recent OECD report
  • Modernising, not privatising the NHS
  • Continued push to integrate health and social care regulatory bodies
  • Further integrating health and social care services
  • Reducing waiting times (across the board, not just for cancer)
  • Focus on healthy lifestyles and physical activity
  • Invest in hospice at home services and improve access to palliative and end of life care.

To learn about what Macmillan Cymru has been calling for, please visit our Assembly election web pages

For more information about the National Assembly election campaign visit the Wales 2016 website to find about more about why your vote on Thursday 5 May is so important to improving cancer care in Wales.



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