Welsh Government response to publication of latest NHS Wales performance data
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Progress continues to be made to reduce the longest waits. The number of pathways waiting more than two years fell for the third consecutive month and was 12% lower in June than the peak in March.
Almost 343,000 patient consultations were undertaken by the NHS in Wales in June across emergency department attendances, outpatient attendances and inpatient / daycase attendances. June also saw just over 88,000 patient pathways closed, a significant increase from the early stages of the pandemic and 4% higher than for the same month in 2021. The average waiting time for treatment also fell in the latest month, from 22.6 weeks to 21.6 weeks.
Diagnostic services also saw people waiting less time to be seen than the previous month, with the average waiting time in June for diagnostic tests being 5.6 weeks, a decrease from 5.7 weeks in the previous month. With diagnostic services being one area benefiting from the £1bn invested in the post pandemic recovery. The number of pathways waiting longer than fourteen weeks for therapies also reduced in June.
More cancer pathways were closed in June than the previous month following more patients being informed they did not have cancer. Performance also increased slightly against the 62 day target compared to May. Significant improvements have been seen in breast services over the last two months with new ways of working, including the introduction of weekend clinics and health boards supporting each other to see patients.
There continues to be high demand for emergency care, with almost 92,000 attendances at Welsh emergency departments, and the highest level of demand on record for immediately life-threatening ambulance calls. Despite this, the majority of patients continue to receive timely access to the care they need with the average wait time for people to be seen shortening.
We continue to invest in urgent and emergency care services. The Six Goals for Urgent and Emergency Care Programme, launched earlier this year is supported by a £25m annual budget, and we have recently announced an additional £3m to increase emergency ambulance capacity through the recruitment of between 100-150 additional frontline staff.
Given the significant challenges the Welsh ambulance service has been experiencing, a national ambulance improvement plan has been agreed by NHS Wales chief executives to deliver a wide range of actions to support better management of 999 demand in the community, increased ambulance capacity, improved responsiveness to people with time sensitive complaints and ambulance patient handover. We have started to see improvement in ambulance patient handover performance in some areas, which will help to improve patient experience and outcomes, and free up ambulance capacity to respond to urgent calls in the community.
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.
We do not have official statistics on the number of individual patients waiting to start treatment. However, newly collected management information suggests that in June, when the National Statistics (above) reported there were over 732,000 open patient pathways, there were 575,541 individual patients on treatment waiting lists in Wales. See further details Welsh Government’s chief statistician’s blog.