Wefan Gymraeg

Welsh NHS Buckling Before Winter Season Even Begins

The Welsh NHS is buckling under substantial pressure before the winter season has even begun the Welsh Liberal Democrats have warned.

Statistics released today show that over 10,691 waited more than 12 hours to be discharged from emergency departments in Wales. The official target time for emergency department discharges is 4 hours.

Likewise, only 50% of red ambulance calls were answered within target times, with figures being significantly worse in rural Wales with only 39% of calls in Hwyel Dda and 41% of calls in Powys being answered within the target time.

These figures come on top of 100,000 extra people joining an NHS Wales waiting list during the last 12 months. With almost 750,000 on patient pathways, well over one-fifth of the Welsh population are now on a waiting list.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

“We urgently need to see an action plan for winter. The service is clearly struggling to cope even now before the winter season begins. While we understand there are huge backlogs from COVID, that is not an excuse for Wales to consistently rank below England and Scotland.

“None of this is due to our amazing NHS staff who work hard to keep things going. Looking after our NHS staff will play a key role in reducing waiting times. The Welsh Liberal Democrats want to see staff recruited and retrained through a Burnout Prevention strategy that offers annual leave guarantees, higher pay and better conditions.

“We were also instrumental in the campaign to introduce a requirement for safe staffing levels of nurses on adult acute wards in 2015. We want to see this extended to cover mental health inpatients, children’s wards, and community ward settings.

“Significant delays in ambulance response times are due to backlogs at A&E departments resulting in patients having to wait in ambulances outside.

“What we need to see is real investment in primary health services in local communities, including our GPs to prevent these build-ups at emergency departments and to prevent people falling into such ill-health they require more advanced treatment.

“Labour must get to grips with this crisis as a matter of national priority.”

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