We contacted all Welsh Government Assembly Members earlier this year. We summarised our concerns about the plans for the new cancer centre, and the process being used. We’re posting information from the letter on this site. 

Misrepresentation of the transfer times for patients requiring urgent escalation of care:

A major weakness of the stand-alone model is the need to urgently transfer acutely unwell patients for care that can’t be provided on the remote Velindre site.

In their document “Why not build a new Velindre Cancer Centre on another hospital site?” Velindre say:

“UHW is less than three miles away and can be reached within minutes.”

The statement as it reads is very reassuring, the reality, less so.

We submitted a freedom of information request to the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) requesting information on transfer times. We asked about how long patients were waiting before the ambulance arrived, how long the journey took and how long patients waited at UHW (University Hospital of Wales) before handover. They told us….

a)    The average wait for an ambulance was:

     AMBER ONE calls = 59 minutes 59 seconds

      RED calls = 8 minutes 18 seconds

b)    The Longest wait for an Ambulance was 

  AMBER ONE Call = 3 hours 27 minutes 52 seconds

RED Call = 24 minutes

    c)    Average wait for handover at hospital 

  AMBER ONE calls = 44 minutes 54 seconds

RED Calls  = 30 minutes 28 seconds 

   d)    The longest wait for Handover at Hospital

  AMBER ONE Call = 4 Hours 12 minutes 25 seconds

RED Call = 51 minutes 21 Seconds

  e) Average Transfer Time for RED calls to UHW      = 6 minutes 36 seconds

      Average transfer Time for AMBER ONE calls to UHW   = 8 Minutes and 10 seconds.

So while the journey between Velindre and UHW does indeed take little time, the stark truth is that the whole process takes much longer, for these sickest of patients.

Reassuring the public that UHW can be reached in minutes is a disingenuous representation of the actual time these transfers take.

These patients are already ill, they deteriorate, and then on average for AMBER ONE CALLS have to wait nearly two hours until admitted to UHW.

This fact is also  discussed in the Nuffield report.