Macmillan Wales was very pleased to work with the National Assembly for Wales’ outreach team recently to support their focus groups with people affected by cancer.
The groups were held as part of the National Assembly Health and Social Care Committee’s inquiry into the progress of the implementation of the Welsh Government’s Cancer Delivery Plan, which was published in 2012.
The plan sets out a number of ambitions and commitments for cancer treatment in Wales including supporting early diagnosis, care which is based on people’s individual needs and achieving survival rates that are the best in Europe.
Two years on from the plan’s publication, Macmillan Wales welcomes the inquiry and was pleased to support the Assembly team with organising the focus groups with people affected by cancer.
This included regional sessions in Cardiff, Llandrindod Wells, New Tredegar, Rhos-on-Sea and Swansea and a focus group at the Senedd in mid May with people living with and beyond cancer.
It is important to Macmillan Wales that the views of people affected by cancer are heard by decision makers as part of this inquiry in addition to the views of healthcare professionals, charities, and statisticians.
The focus groups were an excellent opportunity for AMs to hear what living with cancer in Wales is really like, what is working well and where improvements can be made.
A number of themes emerged from the focus groups.
They included the importance of being diagnosed early and cancer patients having a holistic assessment of their needs – including financial, emotional and practical needs – and a written care plan.
Other areas highlighted were the importance of being assigned a key worker during treatment as one point of contact for any questions or concerns patients may have.
Finally, the groups emphasised the importance of after care as many cancer patients have long or short term health problems as a result of their treatment such as fatigue, lymphoedema or problems eating.
With more than 120,000 people living with or beyond cancer in Wales at the moment, this inquiry is an important opportunity to find out how much progress has been made in implementing the Cancer Delivery Plan which was designed to support them.
We hope the AMs will take the comments from the focus groups on board ahead of the questioning for the oral evidence for the inquiry on Thursday 12 June.