Health Minister response to latest NHS Wales performance data – August and September 2023
Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, said:
This week there has been an attempt to undermine the credibility of official NHS statistics in Wales. The Welsh Government is clear that the information produced is utterly trustworthy and produced independently of political influence. This has been confirmed by the Chief Statistician in her statement today.
There has been an improvement in performance of 4 and 12-hour waits at emergency departments, and health boards have once again given an assurance these numbers include clinical exceptions.
Once again we have outperformed England in our emergency departments, through introducing new ways for people to get the services they need, away from emergency departments, including the 111 service which received more than 71,000 calls in September.
The demand on the NHS is unrelenting even before we head into winter.
Despite this, the average wait for treatment following referral from primary care (eg GP or optometrist) is under 20 weeks, and 2.5 weeks shorter than it was the same time last year.
I’m pleased to see that the performance against the 62-day target for cancer has improved, and the number of people waiting more than two years for treatment have fallen for the 16th month in a row.
The Welsh Ambulance Service experienced a marked 17% increase in daily ‘immediately life threatened’ calls compared to August, and the third highest on record. But over 20% more of those calls got a response within 8 minutes when compared to the same month last year.
However, it is disappointing to see overall waiting lists rise again, but I have been clear with health boards that I expect to see improvement in this area, and we will continue to support them to achieve that.
It is crucial that we develop solutions that will create an NHS that is fit for the future, despite the financial challenges that we are up against and the tough choices that will have to be made in the next months and years.
Today at Neath Port Talbot Hospital I saw how progress on digital innovations are helping to cut waiting times and save NHS Wales money.
Two new digital systems are being rolled out across Wales, the Welsh Nursing Care Record (WNCR) and Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA).
Swansea Bay University Health Board has also developed technology to help improve flow through hospitals, which is vitally important to help cut waiting times.
All this is streamlining administrative processes for healthcare staff and allowing them more time to focus on providing patient care.