Welsh Government statistics released today show only 77.8% of A&E patients in Welsh hospitals were seen within the 4-hour waiting time target last month – the lowest rate ever recorded for the month of December.
This means 18,189 people waited longer than the target time. 3,900 of these had the anxiety and pain of enduring an even longer wait, over 12 hours. Despite the Welsh Labour-led Government promising that no one should have to wait so long.
In 2008, the Welsh Government imposed a target of 95% of patients being seen within four hours at Accident & Emergency departments. A target that has never been met.
North Wales’ Betsi Cadwaladr health board was the worst performing of Wales’ seven: one in three people had to wait longer than four hours, while 8.7% of their 17,879 attendances were in A&E for longer than half a day.
Last summer, two of North Wales’ three major hospitals were branded the worst in Wales after they recorded the worst A&E waiting times for an individual hospitals on record with only around half of patients being seen within four hours.
Last week, the Welsh Conservatives revealed hospitals in Wales operated under ‘extreme pressure’ for 1,767 days in one year – a 205 day (13%) increase compared to the previous 12 months.
Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister Angela Burns AM, said:
“Decades of NHS mismanagement by Welsh Labour governments has led us to the point where what would usually be seen as unacceptable waiting times have become the norm.
“On one hand, the more these stories are reported, the more that people become aware of governmental incompetence. On the other, naturally, the more people are exposed to these issues, the more desensitised they become.
“Sadly, the truth is that this is the new normal for our health service despite the commitment of front line staff.
“But it should not be forgotten that the Welsh NHS can be changed for the better, if only those running it had the vision, the motivation, and the stomach to reform with impetus.
“The people of Wales can only make hospitals better, staff happier, and patients healthier with a change of government. The Welsh Conservatives stand ready.”