Welsh Assembly Elections 2016

By 2030, 130,000 people will be living with or beyond cancer in Wales and nearly half of us will expect to face cancer in our lifetime.

Why action was needed

Without political ambition and urgent decisive action, Wales will fail to meet the needs of everyone with cancer and as the numbers of people with cancer continues to rise, this situation will only get worse.

In Wales, health and social care policy is devolved and decisions about cancer care are made by the Welsh Government.  That’s why the Assembly elections in May 2016 were so important for the people of Wales. During the fifth Assembly term, changes will take place to the way health and social care services are run and it is important to get this right so that every person with cancer receives the best possible care and support.

With your help, we made a difference

With your help, we were able to keep cancer a key priority for each of the five main political parties in Wales. Read our Election Manifesto here.

Each party made commitments to improve cancer care over the next five years.  These commitments will be translated into Welsh Government policy through the next programme for government and people should see an improvement in cancer care in the coming years.

What did each party promise?

All the main political parties made commitments to improve cancer care in Wales during this next Assembly. 

Read what each party committed to delivering below:

Plaid Cymru

The commitments around cancer care in 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 Plaid Cymru’s Manifesto here.

Make it easier for GPs and other health professionals to refer patients.

Plaid Cymru

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Wales Green Party

The Wales Green Party 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 Green Party’s Manifesto here.

More integrated, more efficient and more person centred services.

Wales Green Party

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Welsh Liberal Democrats

The commitments around cancer care in the Welsh Liberal Democrat’s 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 Liberal Democrat Party’s Manifesto here.

Close the gap in cancer care between the best and the rest to reduce variations in cancer care.

Welsh Liberal Democrats

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Welsh Conservatives

The commitments around cancer care in the Welsh Conservative’s 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 have 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 Welsh Conservative Party’s Manifesto here.

Introduce a £100 million Cancer Patients’ Fund for Wales.

Welsh Conservatives

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UKIP Cymru

The commitments around cancer care in UKIP Cymru’s 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 UK Independent Party’s Manifesto here.

Treat cancer as a top priority.

UKIP Cymru

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Welsh Labour Party

The commitments around cancer care in Welsh Labour’s 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.

Read the Welsh Labour Party’s manifesto here.

A new treatment fund for cancer and other life limiting illnesses.

Welsh Labour Party

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What happens next?

In May, the Welsh Labour Party formed a minority government which means they need to work with other parties to ensure they can deliver their programme for Government. In particular, they have committed to working with Plaid Cymru; the main opposition party and also the Liberal Democrats, whose only AM has a seat on the government cabinet. Both these parties have ensured that the government will commit to supporting some of their manifesto commitments, a number of which will have a positive impact on people affected by cancer.

Macmillan will work hard to make sure that our Welsh Assembly calls are championed during the next Assembly term and that we support the development of new and improved cancer policy and services which will improve the lives of everyone affected by cancer in Wales.

Take a look at our blog to read more about what Macmillan have been calling for ahead of the elections and beyond.

Around the UK

As well as being busy in Wales, Macmillan colleagues across the rest of the UK are working hard to make sure cancer remains top of the political agenda. See what Macmillan is up to in, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.