Health Minister response to latest NHS Wales performance data – November and December 2023
Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan said:
Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated staff the NHS in Wales has coped relatively well under difficult circumstances so far this winter. I’m also encouraged to see the steps we have taken this winter, and over the last year, are helping to stabilise or improve performance.
I am delighted that for the first time in a number of months the overall number of people on waiting lists has come down, but the challenging winter we have been through means that this may be difficult to sustain over the coming months.
When compared to the same time last year we’ve seen improvements in ambulance response time performance and reduced ambulance patient handover delays, as well as a 20% fall in numbers of patients spending over 12 hours in an emergency department before admission or discharge.
This is despite immense pressure. As an example, the NHS 111 Wales service answered more calls than ever, and the average number of daily red calls made in December was the second highest on record.
However, in December 80% of red calls received a response within fifteen minutes and the average response time to ‘amber’ category calls was 1 hour and 45 minutes faster than in December 2022. Hours lost to handover delays at hospitals were also down 29% compared to last year.
Good progress is also being made on Pathways of Care Delays which fell from 1,567 in November to 1,361 in December – and down from 1,750 in April.
Our provision of new detailed data is helping health boards identify the areas in which they need to target resources to help more people leave hospital when they are ready to do so.
I would also like to thank the public for using the new services we have funded to reduce pressure on GPs and emergency departments.
It is great to see the national NHS 111 Wales service; urgent primary care centres and same-day emergency care centres successfully and safely providing care and support to tens of thousands of people every month.
In December, more than 95,000 calls were made to the 111 helpline, an increase of around 24,500 calls compared to November. Of these, over 78,000 calls were answered - the highest figure on record.
Health boards have continued to make progress in the delivery of planned care services during November.
The number of patients waiting over two years continues to fall, and November also saw a fall in the overall number of pathways on the waiting list. This is a change from the recent monthly increases.
The numbers waiting for diagnostic procedures have also reduced in November.
The number of people told they do not have cancer was the second highest figure on record.
But there is much more to be done and we will continue to work with health boards to tackle the longest waits.