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Health Minister response to latest NHS Wales performance data – December 2023 and January 2024

Ymateb y Gweinidog Iechyd i ddata perfformiad diweddaraf GIG Cymru – Rhagfyr 2023 ac Ionawr 2024

Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan said:

“These figures cover the period of the year when our NHS and its heroic staff is under the most intense pressure.

“So I am delighted that the overall number of people on waiting lists has come down again, for the second month in a row. Those waiting more than two years for treatment also fell for the 21st consecutive month.

“I am pleased to see performance increased against the 62-day cancer target too, from 53.5 per cent to 58 per cent in December. The number of people told they don’t have cancer was also the highest figure on record for any December.

“We have placed a clear focus on tackling both those patients with an urgent need and those that have waited the longest.

“The immense pressure on our health service continues. New referrals to secondary care facilities like hospitals are the highest on record, having increased 11 per cent in the latest year. Attendances at Emergency Departments were the highest for any January on record.

“Despite this, performance increased against the four-hour target, while the average time spent in emergency departments decreased in January compared to the previous month.

“The number of patients to receive a ‘red’ or most urgent ambulance response in eight minutes was the second highest on record in January, with an average response time of 8 minutes and 11 seconds. And despite pressure on the system, the average response to ‘amber’ patients improved on December.

“The new urgent primary care centre services we have funded to help deliver care closer to home, and reduce pressure on GPs and emergency departments are helping significantly more people than this time last year. These centres are ensuring people receive the right care, in the right place, first time, with the vast majority avoiding the need to attend an emergency department following assessment.

“Progress continues to be made on Pathways of Care Delays, with significant reductions in the number of assessment related delays.

“It is disappointing to see one-year waits for a first outpatient appointment increase, and the number of waits of longer than eight weeks for diagnostic services rise. The overall number of waits for diagnostic services did fall however.

“I would again like to thank our dedicated NHS Wales staff. They have continued to provide a high quality service under extremely challenging circumstances this winter.”