According to Recent Reports, The Welsh government has expressed its disappointment that the ambitious target to tackle the NHS backlog after the Covid pandemic was not met. However, in some good news, there have been improvements in ambulance response times, handover delays and A&E waiting times. Additionally, the number of people waiting for hospital treatment has also reduced for the third successive month.
Anna Prince, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan had been feeling unwell for several years feeling very exhausted and at a time she lost the sight in one eye and felt extreme pain. She was finally referred for an MRI scan. However, despite being put down as an emergency, it took months before she finally got treatment.
“The care I’ve had has really been exemplary and they’ve really looked after me,” but Ms Prince said the challenge was the wait to see specialist consultants.
The Welsh government had in April last year targeted that no one will be waiting more than a year for a first appointment by the end of 2022. However, there were exactly 74,976 on that list at the end of the year.
Three specialisms alone accounted for more than 42,000 people waiting a year or more. The Welsh government said it will continue to push for health boards to give more attention to the longest waiters as soon as emergency cases have been taken care of.
Conservative health spokesman Russell George termed it an “undeniable failure” to miss the target by tens of thousands.
Additionally, spokesman for Plaid Cymru health, Rhun ap Iorwerth said the Welsh government had performed below par in the management of the health service especially after being assured severally by the health minister that the set targets which were revised was achievable. He called for innovative thinking to tackle the issue.
From figures released, ambulance response times improved. 48.9% of life-threatening calls were responded to within 8 minutes in January. This is however worse than it was as at January 2022 and also below the 65% target.
Also, with ambulances unable to drop off patients at the A&E units before the 15-minute target, they lost 23,035 hours which was the lowest in six months.
Furthermore, the number of patients stuck in the hospital despite being strong enough to be discharged reduced by about 10% from the previous month. However, about 1000 patients are still in hospitals waiting for care packages or support to be arranged.
Number of those waiting for hospital treatment fell by 1.75% to a total of 735,139. This is however the sixth-highest number on record.
The Royal College of Surgeons said this reduction in waiting times was good news for patients and surgeons but was just small drops on a huge backlog.
Its director in Wales, Prof Jon Barry, said it showed the incredible efforts colleagues across the health service in Wales have been putting in spite of the very difficult circumstances.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan told BBC Wales: “I’m having very intensive meetings with health boards – last week I had an orthopaedic summit meeting, asking why our performance was not meeting that of England and how do we drive productivity to meet that of England.”
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There was also an improvement in A&E waiting times with 69.9% of people being seen within the four-hour target in January. But about 8,999 people spent 12 hours or more in A&E before being attended to. This is currently not acceptable under current targets; However, this is the lowest figure in over a year.
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