Illegal tobacco in Wales

An undercover investigation by ITV Cymru Wales has found that illegal tobacco in some parts of the country is widespread, and easy to find.

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Drakeford: Important to build on mental health progress

Mark Drakeford has said it's important that more work is done to continue to improve mental health services in Wales.

The Health Minister was speaking ahead of the publication of a report which suggests that services are improving across the country.

The report was created to consider how well the Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010 is meeting its targets. The legislation aims to improve local services and to tailor support more to the individual.

The report indicates that services such as open access courses and and local groups providing support have increased and that nearly 90% of people who require a mental health care and treatment plan now have one.

“With one in four people experiencing mental ill health at some point in their lifetime, it is essential that services are accessible at local level....It is important we take stock of progress to date, and I am pleased this interim report shows there have already been significant improvements to services, and therefore to the lives of people needing to access them...We must now build on the good progress made to bring about further improvement."

– Mark Drakeford, Health Minister

Macmillan: new cancer figures 'concerning'

The cancer support group Macmillan have said new figures indicating the high mortality rates of those suffering from lung cancer in Wales are 'concerning'.

In a report released today, lung cancer remains the biggest cause of death from cancer in Wales, with the disease accounting for nearly 22% of all cancer deaths - more than bowel and breast cancer combined.

“It is concerning that there has been no improvement in the percentage of people dying from lung cancer from the figures published previously and that deaths from cancer are 50 per cent higher in the most deprived areas in Wales compared to the least deprived areas...An earlier study showed that Wales was 28th out of 29 European countries in terms of five year survival rates for lung cancer, which shows that Wales has some way to go to achieve the ambition to be the best in Europe outlined in the government’s Cancer Delivery Plan."

– Susan Morris, General Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales

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Smoking and air pollution 'main risks' for lung cancer

Smoking, air pollution and other factors such as a lack of exercise and a poor diet are all factors that increase the risk of developing lung cancer and other cancers, according to a leading specialist.

Speaking ahead of the release of a new report into cancers in Wales, Dr Dyfed Wyn Huws, Director of the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, says that more can be done to help prevent people developing the disease.

The report indicates that lung cancer kills more people in Wales than any other cancer. It also shows that more women are developing the disease, with the number of those diagnosed with lung cancer increasing by over a third in the last 10 years.

"Smoking, moderate and excessive alcohol drinking, not exercising enough, obesity and a poor diet...throughout our lives are contributing to the levels in Wales. Smoking is by far the main risk for lung cancer, but air pollution such as traffic plays a part...increased tax and duty...minimum alcohol pricing and plain cigarette packs...all these together would really make a difference to cancer prevention in Wales"

– Dr Dyfed Wyn Huws, Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit Director
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Welsh Govt 'expect waiting times to come down'

The Welsh Government said they "expect waiting times for diagnostic tests to come down" after NHS statistics showed Wales was the worst-performing country in the UK in that area.

Despite the pressures on the NHS, access to diagnostic tests is improving.

However, the health minister Mark Drakeford acknowledges waits are still too long in some cases, and last month announced £5 million of new funding to help the NHS reduce waiting times for those scans and tests where there are particular challenges.

Speeding up access to these tests will mean that patients get the results faster and can start their full treatment sooner. We expect waiting times for diagnostic tests to come down.

– Welsh Government spokeswoman

Read: Wales has worst waiting times for NHS tests in UK

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Plaid Cymru: Stats show Labour's NHS mismanagement

Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman, said the figures showing that Wales has high waiting list times for life-saving tests highlighted "the stark reality of Labour's mismanagement of the NHS".

The Health Minister needs to take emergency action to bring down these waiting lists and help the thousands of people who are in limbo as they await a diagnosis. We need to make sure that the diagnostic machines are staffed for longer so that they can be used to their capacity.

This will need extra funding, but failure to do so would be condemning patients to wait even longer for basic tests.

Plaid Cymru has long advocated better planning within the NHS so we can plan ahead for the future workforce, keep waiting lists down and make the Welsh NHS the efficient service that it can be.

– Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman and Ceredigion Assembly Member Elin Jones

Read: Wales has worst waiting times for NHS tests in UK

National

Wales waiting time statistics 'most disturbing in years'

NHS statistics which show that Wales has the worst waiting times for life-saving tests in the UK are "the most disturbing" health figures seen "in many years", a doctor said.

Carmarthen-based doctor Dewi Evans, who has been working in the health service since 1971, said early diagnostic tests were important because they could be a matter of life and death.

Read: Wales has worst waiting times for NHS tests in UK

The checks - such as MRI scans and cystoscopies - can be used by medics to check whether a person has cancer.

These investigations are the mainstay of early and accurate diagnoses of life-threatening conditions.

In terms of significance, these are the most disturbing NHS statistics I have seen in many years. Diagnostic tests are one of the most important parts of the health service.

– Dr Dewi Evans

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National

Wales has worst waiting times for NHS tests in UK

Wales has the worst waiting times record for life-saving tests in the UK, according to new figures.

Wales has the worst waiting times record for life-saving tests. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Around 42% of people in Wales waiting for diagnostic tests had to wait more than six weeks before they were finally seen, according to government statistics.

This compares with 1.8% in England and 3.8% in Scotland.

And the statistics also show 16.6% of patients on the Welsh diagnostic waiting list wait longer than 12 weeks.

In Northern Ireland, 15.5% on the list had to wait more than nine weeks.

Improving mental health services in Wales - Report

Mental health services in Wales are improving, according to a report released today.

The report looks at progress made so far against the aims of the Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010, which was designed to improve the access to mental health services across the country.

Since the measure came into force two years ago, there's been an increase in the number of local services available to people, including open access courses and groups providing support.

Waiting times for assessment have also improved, with the target time for referral to assessment dropping from 56 days to 28.

Lung cancer kills more in Wales than any other cancer

Lung cancer accounts for 22% of all cancer deaths in Wales. Credit: PA

Lung cancer continues to be the biggest cause of death from cancer in Wales - accounting for more deaths in the country than bowel and breast cancers combined.

Nearly 2,000 people died from the disease in 2012, representing 22% of all Welsh cancer deaths.

Figures from a new report into cancer also found that, for a disease traditionally seen in men, the number of cases of lung cancer in women has increased by more than a third over the last decade.

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