The future cancer diagnostic workforce in Wales: an expert view

Rapid diagnosis contributes to better outcomes for cancer patients. But with increasing demand, the COVID backlog, and acute workforce shortages in some diagnostic specialties, Wales faces significant challenges if it is to meet the target of 75% compliance on the 62-day suspicion to treatment single cancer pathway, let alone exceed it.

Alongside efforts to recruit, train and retain diagnostics staff, a new generation of diagnostic pathways is emerging too - including cancer-focussed rapid diagnosis centres (in Wales) and all-elective community diagnostic centres (in England). These new pathways aim to help increase capacity and to speed up diagnosis times drawing on principles of separated elective care, one-stop diagnostics and harnessing novel technologies.

But what should the workforce supporting these emerging cancer diagnosis pathways look like? What are the opportunities and risks as we move towards this new diagnostic vision for cancer services?

We are proud to have worked with Alison Leary, Professor in Healthcare Modelling, to explore this question in a think-piece on the future of the cancer diagnostic workforce in Wales. Based on her own experience and expertise, and interviews with 18 stakeholders in cancer diagnostics in Wales, her report sets out how we can foster a safe and effective workforce for diagnosing cancer in Wales.

You can download the report below. If it sparks any thoughts for how we can design a workforce that diagnoses more cancers early in Wales, get in touch.

Research & Insight