What are they smoking in Cardiff? Have the mandarins there lost complete touch with reality? Do they honestly believe that the Welsh public can be easily fooled when it comes to dealing with cancer treatment waiting lists?
The Welsh Government believes that three quarters of patients diagnosed with cancer should begin their treatment within 62 days.
On the surface, that seems like a not unreasonable proposition. After all, one in three of us will receive a cancer diagnosis within some stage of our lifetimes. Not a single family in the country hasn’t been touched by some form of the disease.
Tremendous inroads have been made when it comes to early diagnoses and better treatment regimens, but to have the words ‘You have cancer’ delivered by a doctor is one of the most gut-wrenching moments in any person’s life.
Simply put, the earlier the diagnosis, the earlier treatment can begin, and the better the prospect of a positive outcome.
That’s the way it’s supposed to work.
But it doesn’t.
That 75 per cent target of patients beginning treatment within two months? It’s a farce. Yes, a farce. There is no other word that can be used to describe the current situation.
According to the latest data supplied by health boards in Wales, barely 56 per cent of patients who have received a cancer diagnosis began their treatment within that 62-day timeframe in July. And that number down some three percentage points on June.
To make matters worse, those mandarins in Cardiff Bay believe that they’re doing so well that they think it’s appropriate to say that come 2026, 80 per cent of cancer patients should begin treatment within 62 days.
If they’re failing so miserably now, and if there’s a £900 million hole now in the finances of the Welsh Government, what makes them think that they will somehow, magically, find the resources to improve things so dramatically by 2026?
If that can’t meet lower targets now, what chance have they of meeting those higher targets then? All they’re doing is playing with peoples’ minds and the hopes of cancer patients.
Stop treating us as fools. Start treating cancer patients quickly.