This will help the NHS in Wales gain a more accurate picture of actual waiting times and hopefully speed up treatment in many cases.

The 'single cancer pathway' takes into account both urgent and non-urgent cases and will be trialled by six Health Boards across Wales, measured against the current system and evaluated in due course.

Sally Greenbrook, Senior Policy Officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer said:

“We welcome any steps that the Welsh Government is taking to monitor and reduce breast cancer waiting times. Ensuring that all patients receive timely diagnosis and treatment must be a priority.

“Breakthrough Breast Cancer is deeply concerned about the length of time that some Welsh patients are waiting between referral by their GP and seeing a specialist. Our conversations with Health Boards have revealed that some patients are experiencing a ‘hidden wait’ of more than six months before diagnosis after a non-urgent referral. Many of these women are then found to have breast cancer and this significant delay to the start of their treatment could mean they experience worse outcomes.

“We hope the Welsh Government’s pilot will help to highlight this issue and lead to decisive action to tackle the problem of non-urgent referral waiting times. We will follow the pilot with interest and look forward to seeing the results.”

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