Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Petitions Committee

The government's failure to reach its 62 day target is "unacceptable" according to Health Minister Lesley Griffiths who was giving evidence to the Petitions Committee on 20 November 2012.

The target states that 95% of cancer patients who need urgent care should be seen by a specialist within 62 days.

The target hasn't been reached once since Carwyn Jones AM became first minister.

Mr Griffiths was giving evidence to the committee on national cancer standards in response to a petition presented by Rhondda Breast Friends.

The petition was presented back in 2008, and its aim was to discover whether local health boards had a strategy and a delivery plan in place in order to comply with national cancer standards by 2009.

The government has introduced a new cancer plan since then called 'National Cancer Delivery Plan' as part of 'Together for Health' which has replaced the national cancer standards.

The minister said that the new plan included guidelines for health boards to follow which were more practical to implement than the previous plan.

The previous plan had over 700 standards that local health boards had to comply with.

She said it was "inappropriate" for the government to keep track of so many standards.

Labour AM Joyce Watson asked how the plan was meant to ensure that the targets are met, since they are currently being consistently missed.

The minister said she hoped that the targets would be met in future.

Plaid Cymru AM Elin Jones raised concerns over the number of specialist staff in Wales to fulfil patient needs.

Ms Griffiths said that she didn't think there was an issue with staffing levels and added that oncology training courses are easy to fill.

The committee also discussed other petitions including one opposing a compulsory register for home schooled students.

According to the petitioners, parents are responsible for the education of their children, therefore the creation of such a register would be "inappropriate".

The committee agreed to write the education minister to ask him to respond to the petitioners' concerns.

The committee also discussed updates to previous petitions, including one calling on the government to support the creation of a Welsh Olympic team and another opposing the government's plans to introduce an opt-out organ donation system.

Read this in Welsh.

Petitions Committee membership

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