30 April 2010
Cath Lindley, general manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, addressing the Wales Cancer Conference
Poll shows Welsh public sees cancer as number one health priority for government. A coalition of cancer charities including Macmillan has called on the Welsh Assembly Government to not let the drive for efficiency savings and cuts in public sector spending over the next five years impact on cancer services and the cancer workforce in Wales.
The call comes as a new online YouGov poll commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support shows that the majority of the Welsh public (66% of people polled) think cancer ought to be one of the illnesses or diseases given the highest priority by the Welsh Assembly Government.
At a time when the Auditor General for Wales is predicting a total cut in funding of around £1.5 billion for Welsh public services over the next three years, the Wales Cancer Alliance is calling on the government to continue to prioritise and invest in cancer services in Wales.
Speaking at the Wales Cancer Conference in Cardiff, representatives from the Alliance emphasised the need for the government to continue its investment in cancer so that people at all stages of the cancer journey, are offered the world class treatment and support they need and deserve.
Cath Lindley, chair of the Wales Cancer Alliance and General Manager for Macmillan in Wales, said:
“Cancer remains the second biggest killer in Wales and is likely to affect one in three of us over our lifetime. As charities we also know that cancer has a devastating and long lasting impact on people’s lives and the lives of their loved ones. The fact that the majority of people in Wales think that cancer ought to be one of the Welsh government’s highest priorities, is therefore not surprising.
'The scale of the challenge facing the government in ensuring that everyone affected by cancer in Wales is offered the best treatment and support throughout their entire cancer journey, regardless of who they are, their age, where they live, and the type of cancer they have, is enormous.
'This is why we are taking the opportunity today to call on government to ensure that cancer services are not neglected or put in jeopardy by the inevitable and very real spending squeeze facing our public services.'
The alliance is also calling on all political parties in Wales to prioritise cancer when preparing their manifestos for the 2011 Assembly election. The alliance is calling on all parties to commit to developing a comprehensive national cancer strategy that covers the entire cancer journey from research, prevention and diagnosis, to treatment, support, survivorship and end of life services.
Clare Bath, from the Wales Cancer Alliance, and Public Affairs Officer for Cancer Research UK, said:
'The Wales Cancer Alliance invests more than £20 million a year in cancer in Wales and between us we have a wealth of experience and expertise in the field of cancer. We are also in close contact with people affected by cancer, and understand how cancer affects them and their families.
'People affected by cancer tell us that they want the best possible treatment and support. They also want to be able to fully benefit from breakthroughs in cancer research both now and in the future. To ensure the very best for people affected by cancer in Wales, and to ensure that the inequalities that currently exist in access to treatment and support aren’t exacerbated, we need to see a firm commitment to a clear and comprehensive national cancer strategy.'
The Wales Cancer Conference brings together the cancer community in Wales - including scientists, health and social care professionals, politicians, policy makers, people affected by cancer and cancer charities.