Posted: Thu 18th Apr 2024

Almost one in five people in Wales waiting to start NHS treatment

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales


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Almost one in five people in Wales are waiting to begin NHS treatment.

New figures released today show that 591,600 individual patients are currently on a treatment waiting list in Wales – the highest figure on record.

The number of patient pathways in Wales increased in February from 754,800 to just over 763,100.

Open patient pathways are not the same as the number of patients waiting for treatment due to some people being on more than one waiting list.

But despite this February’s figures are the second highest on record.

According to today’s data the number of patient pathways waiting less than 26 weeks increased to 56.6 per cent in February.

Across Wales the latest figures show that six of the seven health boards have hit the target to ensure 97 per cent of all waits are less than 104 weeks.

However North Wales’ Betsi Cadwaladr was the only health board not to achieve the target to ensure 97 per cent of all waits are under 104 weeks.

Emergency department waiting times

Throughout March there was an average of 2,962 daily attendances to emergency departments.

This is an increase compared to the previous month.

Welsh Government has a target that 95 per cent of patients should spent less than four hours in emergency departments from arrival until admission, transfer or discharge.

However across Wales that target was missed again in March – with just 67.5 per cent of patients spending less than four hours waiting.

Betsi Cadwaladr was the worst performing health board across Wales with 62.2 per cent seen within four hours.

At the Wrexham Maelor Hospital just 50.5 per cent of patients spent less than four hours in the department.

However Ysbyty Glan Clwyd was the worst performing across Wales with just 39.7 per cent of people seen within four hours.

Other figures for March show that 72.7 per cent of patients at the Wrexham Maelor were seen within eight hours and 83.1 per cent within 12 hours.

Ambulance response times

Over 35,500 emergency calls were made to the Welsh Ambulance Service throughout March – an average of 1,146 calls per day.

Of these an average of 159 calls per day were classed as ‘Category Red’, which is immediately life-threatening.

In March, the proportion of all calls that were immediately life-threatening was 13.9%, the same as February, and still the third highest on record.

The Welsh Ambulance Service has a target of attending 65 per cent of immediately life-threatening calls within eight minutes.

However in March just 48.9 per cent of red calls received a response within the set time.

This was one percentage point lower than the previous month.

According to the Welsh Government the median response time in the four years prior to the pandemic ranged between four minutes 30 seconds and six minutes for red calls.

But in March, the average (median) response time to immediately life-threatening ‘red’ calls was eight minutes 12 seconds.

Response

Sam Rowlands MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister said: “This abysmal set of statistics show why the Labour Welsh Government need to be held accountable for their performance running our Welsh NHS.

“I look forward to putting forward positive solutions to that end in my new role.

“The Welsh Conservatives want to see our Welsh NHS fully resourced with the entire Barnett uplift for health and a substantial workforce boosting plan implemented to tackle these excessive waits for treatment.”

Plaid Cymru said today’s figures show that the NHS in Wales is ‘going backwards under Labour’.

Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Health and Social Care, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said: “On every measure, the NHS in Wales is going backwards under Labour.

Over half of the most urgent calls to emergency responders were not answered within the target time, nearly one in five of the population are now on waiting lists, and more cancer patients are waiting longer to start their first definitive treatment.

“Labour had an opportunity to press the reset button by selecting a new First Minister and Cabinet, but they decided to go for more of the same.

“Instead of taking responsibility for their failures, the Labour Government’s default position is deflect and blame our Doctors or blame the people of Wales.”

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Eluned Morgan

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Eluned Morgan said there remains a “lot of work to improve waiting times and NHS performance.”

Ms Morgan said: ““Despite significant demand on our NHS and some disruption from industrial action NHS staff have worked tirelessly to deliver high-quality care and continue to reduce long waiting times.

“There is still a lot of work to do to improve waiting times and NHS performance. We must focus on improving productivity and efficiency in the NHS – some health boards need to do better.

“This is an area my officials and the NHS Executive will be focusing on. I also want to improve access to information for the public so they can scrutinise the performance of their local health board.

“Demand on emergency services continues to be significant. The number of immediately life-threatening calls to the ambulance service in March was the joint fourth highest on record.

“But despite this, the average response time to red calls was faster than the same period last year and 80.3 per cent received a response within 15 minutes.

“Attendances at emergency departments were the highest on record for March and admissions to hospital from emergency departments also increased by 10 per cent.

“I’m disappointed to see long stays in emergency departments have increased.

“I expect health boards to renew their focus on reducing long stays in emergency departments, particularly for frail and older people.”

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