Yesterday’s BBC article (Mon 4th Oct 21) again raises the shortage of cancer specialists in Wales.

As Winston S Churchill wrote in the Hinge of Fate in 1950, there is no worse mistake in public leadership than to hold out false hopes soon to be swept away.

The Royal College of Radiologists represents clinical oncologists and diagnostic radiologists, and has been active for years in collecting and publishing workforce data.

Indeed, the shortage of oncologists and radiologists was pointed out to Welsh Government well over 10 years ago but initially this fell on deaf ears. There has been progress in radiology training at least with the National Imaging Academy Wales which opened in August 2018. Whilst the shiny refurbished building has certainly helped, and Welsh Government like shiny buildings, they were very slow to increase the number of trainees. Once again, they didn’t listen to the people on the coalface who know, and they keep repeating the same mistake. They seem to be intent on listening to gong seeking sycophants, rather than the large group of people doing the work. 

There are other examples where Welsh Government has not listened, such as the unfolding disaster at the Grange Hospital. 

It won’t work the doctors said. 

There are not enough beds the doctors said. 

It is a model of care that failed dismally in the one place in the UK they had already tried it the doctors said.

It won’t be safe the doctors said.

It will be a disaster the doctors said.

But Welsh government gave the go-ahead, just as they are doing to the new stand-alone oncology centre planned for North Cardiff. The new shiny Grange Hospital is failing. We are concerned the new shiny oncology centre will fail.

The Nuffield Trust pointed out the south-east Wales plans are against the prevailing direction of travel everywhere else. 

This was also pointed out by the external advisory board of the Welsh cancer research network.

The advisory board was made up of seven hugely respected professors from outstanding cancer centres around the UK, as well as patient representation. 

However, in the light of the BBC article it is worth highlighting this particular comment in the letter:

“The decision to re-site Velindre separately will also have implications for staff recruitment at both junior and senior level” the professors said.

Welsh Government simply don’t listen, which is why the Welsh NHS is in meltdown.