NHS wait times in Wales have increased by 6,000, leading to a higher number of people on waiting lists

In April, the number of individuals on NHS waiting lists experienced its second consecutive monthly increase, rising by 6,000.

Simultaneously, the number of individuals waiting for over a year has witnessed its first increase in eight months, and the decline in those waiting for two years has slowed down.

The Royal College of Surgeons described it as a “wake-up call,” while leaders of NHS Wales expressed their disappointment regarding the situation.

On a positive note, both ambulance response times and A&E waiting times have shown improvement.

In April, the total number of “patient pathways” reached 743,339, reflecting an additional 8,600 cases. Out of these, 136,534 individuals experienced waits exceeding one year.

Despite the target of ensuring that no individual waits for more than two years, the current figures reveal that 31,481 people are still waiting beyond this timeframe.

Taking into account that some patients are on multiple waiting lists, the estimated total number of individuals on waiting lists is around 582,000. This reflects an increase of 6,000 individuals and marks the second consecutive rise following a decline over the previous five months.

There is a possibility of adjusting waiting times for hospital treatment to enhance comparability with England.

In Wales, 4.7% of patients are waiting for two years or more for treatment, whereas in England, the corresponding figure is 0.01%. Similarly, waits of a year or more are experienced by 20.3% of patients in Wales and 5% in England.

Hospital activity, specifically routine in-patient surgery and day case operations, has witnessed a notable increase of 17% in the first four months of 2023 compared to the corresponding period last year.

Despite ongoing efforts to achieve a post-pandemic recovery target of no-one waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment, the goal is still not met. However, there has been improvement for the eighth consecutive month in this regard.

The number of patients waiting for an outpatient appointment exceeding one year still stands at 52,800, with a minor monthly decrease of only 94.

In May, ambulance response times showed improvement, with 53.4% of immediately life-threatening “red” calls being attended to within eight minutes. This marks the best performance in a year, although it still falls outside the target set.

The average response time for ambulances in May was seven minutes and 25 seconds, which is 11 seconds faster than April but three seconds slower compared to the same period last year.

The A&E’s four-hour target, which aims to admit, transfer, or discharge individuals within that timeframe, was achieved 72% of the time. The average waiting time in A&E stood at two hours and 36 minutes.

In the meantime, a total of 8,983 individuals spent 12 hours or more in A&E, which is slightly higher compared to the previous month.

Despite being medically fit for discharge, over 1,500 patients remained in the hospital. The majority of these patients were elderly individuals awaiting assessment, care placements, or additional support.

Ambulance handover delays have decreased, although there were still approximately 20,000 “lost” hours. These hours represent the time spent beyond 15 minutes when ambulances wait to hand over patients at major emergency units.



Source : bbc.com

By Ryan

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