‘NHS vacancies must be filled as a matter of urgency’ – Kirsty Williams

February 9, 2012 2:39 PM

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams, has spoken of her disappointment regarding patient waiting times in Wales.

By the end of December, a total of 7,699 patients had been waiting more than 36 weeks for the start of their NHS treatment. 25,194 patients had been waiting between 26 to 36 weeks.

The Welsh Labour Government's target is for 95% of patients to be waiting less than 26 weeks from referral to treatment. There is a 100% target for patients (not treated within 26 weeks) to be treated within a maximum of 36 weeks. Both of these targets were missed - 91% had been waiting less than 26 weeks, and 98% for less than 36 weeks.

Kirsty Williams AM said:

"The Welsh Labour Government has presided over an NHS that now has thousands of patients who are having to wait more than 26 weeks for treatment. It is a disgrace than over 7,000 people are waiting more than 36 weeks.

"Waiting for the start of treatment is a worrying, stressful and uncomfortable time for any patient. Reducing these long waiting periods has to be an important priority for this Welsh government.

"There is an acute shortage of doctors and consultants here in Wales. These vacancies need to be filled as a matter of urgency as the problem is leading to temporary hospital closures that are having a detrimental effect on patient safety and care. The Health Minister launched, somewhat belatedly, her recruitment campaign last week. Sadly the lack of detail and information surrounding this announcement reeks of bad planning and rushed announcements. The Minister has failed to set any sort of measurable target for this scheme.

"The number of patients waiting to start treatment has been generally increasing over the last 14 months. Welsh Labour speak of how proud they are of their record on the NHS, it beggars belief they can say such a thing when the NHS in Wales spends more per head than in England, but delivers longer waiting lists.

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