The Welsh Liberal Democrats have condemned the record numbers of patients waiting more than 12 hours in A&E, putting patients at risk of harm.
5,111 patients waited for more than 12 hours in A&E in January, an increase of 36% in a year. Only 78% of patients were seen within four hours, far lower than the target of 95%.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine in Wales said the “catastrophic” increase was “unacceptable and shocking.” They have also described patients being left in ambulances or corridors as “unsafe, undignified and distressing for patients and their family members.”
Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for a Healthy Wales Bablin Molik commented:
The conditions patients and staff have been forced to endure this winter in A&E departments across Wales have simply not been good enough. Winter pressures are partly to blame, pressures that have also affected the NHS in England and Scotland; but winter pressures alone do not justify this poor performance. This flu season was particularly challenging, but we knew months ago that it would be. So why weren’t we ready?
We need to look at the long-term changes that need to be made to health and social care in Wales to prevent this situation from happening again. We have to invest in innovative new models of care to treat patients more efficiently and effectively. We must develop new ways of working within primary care, improve community care and utilise telehealth to reduce pressure on hospitals, treat patients earlier and improve patient safety.