The Labour-run NHS in Wales has recorded its worst ever A&E waiting times, its longest treatment waiting list on record, and the slowest ever response times from ambulances.
Latest Welsh NHS data shows A&E waiting times were again the worst on record – for the fourth month running – only 65% were admitted, transferred, or discharged within four hours last month, despite fewer patients presenting. The target is 95%, never met in its 12-year existence.
Statistics also revealed:
- Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board, which covers the Central Valleys and Bridgend, was the worst performing in Wales against the four-hour target;
- The Labour Government’s flagship hospital, The Grange in Cwmbran, continues to have the worst waiting times for a single hospital, as only 34% of patients were seen in four hours;
- A record 11% waited over 12 hours in Welsh hospitals, 1,000 more than in September; and
- Those aged over 85 spent an average of seven hours and 47 minutes in A&E, up an hour since September.
Additional figures for September showed the highest ever number of patients waiting for treatment with 668,801 on patient pathways – over 11,000 more than the previous month – placing 1-in-5 Welsh people on the waiting list.
Median waiting times for that same month in Wales are nearly double that of England (21.8 weeks compared to 11.9), while 1-in-4 Welsh patients are waiting over a year for treatment, compared to only 1-in-19 in England.
When it came to ambulance performance in October, only 50% of responses to immediately life-threatening calls arrived within eight minutes, the lowest figure on record. The target of 65% of red-calls reaching their patient within eight minutes has not been reached in 15 months.
The worst performing authority was Dyfed’s Hywel Dda health board with only 39% arriving within the eight-minute target, but four other health boards posted a figure under 50%.
More than 4-in-5 (82%) amber call patients – which include strokes – took over 30 minutes to be reached. This was most acute in Swansea Bay Health Board with only 9% of calls arriving in half an hour.
The news comes after more reports of delays in ambulance handovers due to overwhelmed emergency departments.
Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said:
“After two decades of poor decisions and management, the Labour-run NHS is at breaking point. Today’s stark figures reveal the worst ever performance figures in the history of the Welsh NHS and behind each of these appalling statistics are patients and families who are suffering.
“Longstanding issues such as bed cuts of 30% over 22 years and 3,000 current staff vacancies cannot all be blamed on the pandemic, as a number of systemic failures over the years have led the Welsh NHS to breaking point.
“The ambulance service is in crisis and to address it we need to solve problems in other areas of the NHS, which means a campaign to increase knowledge and encourage use of minor injury units as well as finally acting on our long-term calls for regional surgical hubs to address the huge NHS backlog.
“Wales is once again heading into winter with a health service on the brink. Labour ministers must finally act and address a problem that has become endemic in our public services over the last 22 years.”