Plaid Cymru have called on the Welsh Government to invest more in cancer diagnostics in North Wales by establishing a rapid diagnostic regional hub in Gwynedd, following the release of mortality rates across the UK.

Their calls have been backed by Becky Williams, widow of Irfon Williams who led the Hawl i Fyw campaign.

Newly-released mortality figures reveal that cancer is the single biggest cause of death in north Wales, with 2,291 of the 8,156 recorded deaths attributable to cancer.(1)

Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru candidate for Dwyfor Meirionnydd in the National Assembly, has called on the Welsh Government to develop a diagnostic centre in Gwynedd to prevent more untimely deaths, citing successful trials in south Wales as examples of how diagnostic centres save lives.

Mabon ap Gwynfor said: “Cancer was the single biggest killer in Dwyfor Meirionnydd in 2018. It accounted for 28% of all deaths in the constituency. 41% of all deaths in the Dolgellau area were due to cancer in 2018.

“But because of our geography, patients from Dwyfor Meirionnydd are having to travel much further to receive their treatment, with most having to go to Glan Clwyd.

“We know that early diagnosis is critical to improve patient outcomes. This is why we need to roll-out more diagnostic centres across Wales, particularly here in rural north Wales.

“The Welsh Government have piloted rapid diagnostic centres in the two of the south Wales health board areas and they’ve been hailed a massive success’.(2). Research shows that Rapid Diagnosis Centres reduces mean time until diagnosis from 84 days to 6 days. (3).

“Patients in Dwyfor Meirionnydd and across north Wales deserve parity of service, which is why the Welsh Government should invest in the development of diagnostic centres here to ensure early diagnosis and better outcomes for our patients.”

Becky Williams said: “I fully support Plaid Cymru’s call for improvement in cancer services in north Wales.

“Wales has some of the poorest outcomes in Europe for bowel cancer and we know that early diagnosis and treatment of not just bowel cancer, but all cancers lead to improved outcomes for patients.

“An early diagnosis is quite simply the difference between life and death.”

Photo: Mabon ap Gwynfor

1 https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/query/construct/submit.asp?menuopt=201&subcomp=
2 http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/903/news/49660
3 https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/sites/default/files/cancer-stats/gareth_davies_heather_wilkes_and_berni_sewell_slides/gareth_davies_heather_wilkes_and_berni_sewell_slides.pdf