There’s a cancer workforce crisis in Wales. But most of the parties in Senedd have shown themselves switched on to the need for purpose and action. Conservative, Plaid and Liberal Democrat have demanded a Welsh 5-year Cancer Strategy. And soon.

They’ve also called for a speedy ‘workforce recruitment and retention plan for cancer specialists’. And they enjoy the support of 20 Welsh cancer charities, including Cancer Research UK in Wales. Seemingly only Welsh Labour is not switched on to this urgent need.

The government’s Quality Statement on cancer.

The health minister stood by the government’s updated Quality Statement as enough. She had to battle strong calls to add in targeted cancer planning. Her critics only saw the Quality Statement as anaemic with its lack of bold targets. For them the statement exposed a failure of ambition in government. It showed a dereliction of duty towards accountability and measurable goals.

Of course a mere ‘statement’ could never do the work of a strategy anyway. Especially when the statement in question appears long on aspiration and self-congratulation while being short on evidence and purpose.

Aspirations not enough

At Co-locate we think that vague, jargonised ‘aspirations’ alone waste the time, patience and money of the public and cruelly fail cancer patients. So congratulations to Plaid and Conservative MSs for speeches cutting through this complacency and exposing it. Their proposals signal a willingness to support and pursue the very best in cancer care wherever that commitment takes them. It’s surely a big deal that around half of Senedd stands solid on the urgent demand for a cancer workforce plan.

We wait and hope for a day soon when the other half of Senedd are switched on too. It’s tempting to comment further here. But you’ll have to wait for the next blog for that.

Visit the Senedd exchanges for yourself.

Go to: Senedd Plenary > Committee Dates > 9 Feb 2022 > Transcript