Record high demand on ambulance and Emergency Departments during “very challenging December”
Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, has responded to the latest NHS performance statistics and announced an extra £10m, on top of the £30m earlier this year, to support health and social care delivery in recognition of increased pressure this winter.
Figures for December published on Thursday show the worst-performing hospital is now Wrexham Maelor, which saw a little over half – 52.2 percent – of patients within the four-hour target and is 10 percent down on November 2019.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething said:
“I would like to thank front line staff for their hard work and skill during what was a very challenging December.
Last month saw record high demand on the ambulance service, the highest number of attendance at emergency departments for any December and record numbers of emergency admissions for over 75 year olds.
There has been a welcome reduction in delayed transfers of care but too many patients are spending long periods in emergency departments waiting for a hospital bed.
We want Health Boards to work with partners to improve the flow of patients through the hospital system and out into the community, and I have made an extra £10m available to support improvement in this area.”
Mr Gething said the ambulance service faced significant pressure, with average daily ‘red calls’ increasing to the highest on record and exceeding 100 for the first time, but missed key target times, he said:
We are disappointed the target was not achieved although more patients in the red category received a response within the target time than last December.
Demand on emergency departments is also affecting the delivery of planned treatments at hospitals, the Health Minister said it is being made worse by doctors reducing their hours because of changes to HMRC pension tax rules by the UK Government.
That led to around 3,200 sessions lost, affecting nearly 27,000 patients in December, “I have called on the UK Government to resolve this matter urgently.” Mr Gething
“Our hard-working, dedicated NHS staff have been working tirelessly throughout the year and it is clear demand is only set to grow.
For that reason we need to transform the way we deliver health and social care in the future.
As well as the short-term measures I have announced today, we are investing £100m through our Transformation Fund to develop new models of care, to create a sustainable health and social care for the future.” He added.
Fourth consecutive month, A & E waiting times in Wales are the worst on record.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – which has been in special measures since June 2015 – is the worst-performing health board with just 66.8 percent of patients being seen within the critical four-hour period.
The Shadow Health Minster said “This Welsh Labour Government has created this crisis, and can’t solve it.”
Angela Burns AM– said that figures “… show a Welsh Labour Government unable to cope with this continuing crisis, and completely unable to find a solution”.
She added: “These figures are disturbing. The Health Minister must announce – today – what remedial action he is going to take, and a definite timeframe in which to deliver it.
In those critical times when people attend A & E departments, they need the reassurance that they will be seen not ‘as soon as possible’, but within – and well within – the waiting periods set by this Welsh Labour Government and its Health Minister.
And let’s be clear: our hardworking NHS Wales staff are there to deliver the best care that they can, but they, too, are being let down by mismanagement at the top. It’s a credit to them that they manage to cope under such circumstances.
This Welsh Labour administration created this crisis, and doesn’t seem that it can solve it.”
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