Welsh Government response to latest NHS Wales performance data
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Progress continues to be made on the longest waits and we have seen a reduction in the number of patient pathways* waiting more than two years for treatment for the fifth month in a row. This is a fall of 16 per cent since the peak in March.
“Thousands of people are still being seen and treated by NHS Wales and there were more than 338,000 consultations carried out in August. We will continue to work with health boards on how we can best support them to meet our planned care targets.
“We saw slightly more people start their cancer treatment in August (1,691) than in the previous month. A total of 13,534 pathways were closed following the patient being informed they did not have cancer, an increase of more than 12% on the previous month and the highest level on record. A huge amount of work, focus, investment and service change is under way in reducing the number of people waiting for cancer treatment and the Health Minister recently met with health boards and trusts to hear their plans about how they are working to bring the waiting lists down.
“August also saw just over 93,000 patient pathways closed, a significant increase from the early stages of the pandemic and 27 per cent higher than for the same month in 2021.
“For diagnostic services, the number of patient pathways waiting decreased to just over 107,000 in August from 110,000 in July. For therapies, the number of patient pathways waiting decreased to just over 67,500 in August.
“Urgent and emergency care staff remain under intense pressure, and we are working with health and social care service leaders to support improvements. We acknowledge ambulance performance is not where we, NHS Wales nor the public expect it to be and we are driving a whole system response to support improvement. We expect health boards to take ownership and immediately reduce ambulance patient handover delays while working with social care services to improve timeliness of patient transfers home from hospital.
“Performance improved against the four-hour and twelve-hour standards and the average (median) time spent in emergency departments shortened slightly. September saw the best performance against the four-hour standard since January 2022 and this is testament to hard working emergency department staff given the ongoing system pressures.”
Notes to editors
* The number of patient pathways is not the same as the number of individual patients, because some people have multiple open pathways. More information is available in the Welsh Government’s chief statistician’s blog.
New management information suggests that in August 2022, when there were more than 750,000 open patient pathways, there were around 589,000 individual patients on treatment waiting lists in Wales. This was an increase of almost 3,500 patients from the previous month.
September saw the second highest proportion of ‘red’/ immediately life threatened calls on record.