North Wales has the worst A&E waiting times in the UK, according to government statistics. The delays in seeing patients have been described as “shameful” by Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM.Last month, only 77.8% of people were seen within 4 hours. This is the worst record yet for any December to date. The target is 95%.
Maelor Hospital, Wrexham is the worst-performing A&E in the United Kingdom with more than half of the people had to wait over 4 hours to be seen.
Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is at the bottom of the list throughout the United Kingdom for patients waiting over 12 hours. 700 people had to wait more than half a day or more to be seen in the emergency unit of that particular hospital in Denbighshire in December.
Nearly two thirds of patients wait more than a quarter of an hour in an ambulance outside the Maelor and Glan Clwyd Hospital.
In November, the number of people waiting more than 12 hours to be seen in Scotland was 250. In the whole of Wales – 3,900. There were 696 at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd alone. In Scotland 90% are seen within target time.
In his latest report, John Gittins, the North Wales Chief Coroner, says there is no indication that progress is being made, despite the fact that he has repeatedly voiced concerns. He also says that he was extremely concerned that the lives of patients were at risk as a result.
Over the last year, the coroner in the North has served a Regulation 28 notice to NHS Wales to prevent future deaths on four different occasions. In the reports in question, the coroner draws particular attention to concerns about ambulances being held back, staff shortages and delays in emergency departments.
Yesterday, before the Public Accounts Committee, Andrew Goodall, Chief Executive of NHS Wales admitted that the performance of the Betsi Cadwaladr emergency departments was unacceptable, and that it had worsened since the Board was set under special measures in June 2015 – partly as a result of A&E performance not being an area prioritised for initial intervention.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, said:
“It’s shameful that two of the worst-performing A&E departments in the entire UK are in north Wales. That’s a damning indictment of the Welsh Government, which has had direct control over Betsi Cadwaladr health board for almost four years.
“Hard-pressed staff in A&E in Wrexham and Ysbyty Glan Clwyd are being pushed to the limit due to a failure by successive Welsh health ministers to deal with the recruitment crisis – we urgently need to train and recruit more nurses and doctors to deal with rising demand.
“While it’s clear that there are general issues with staffing throughout the NHS, I have to wonder how Scotland is managing to deal with A&E emissions to the extent that only 250 patients waited more than four hours throughout the country in November while the corresponding figure in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd alone was 696 in the same month?
“I share the North Wales coroner’s concerns about the state of the NHS in Wales. Plaid Cymru has been calling for the recruitment and training of 1,000 extra doctors and 5,000 nurses to make up the shortfall but the Labour Government has failed to take decisive action. It’s a disgrace that we have such bad management of our health service.”
By contrast with their appalling management of the Welsh NHS, Labour called for an independent investigation to waiting times in England in January 2018 following the previous winter crisis.Plaid Cymru and The Royal College of Physicians have cited the following reasons for this crisis: Workforce rota gaps, a lack of bed space and the growing social care crisis are all contributing to a frustrating situation where many people are stuck in limbo because of blockages in the system… This is increasingly unmanageable.
Plaid Cymru would recruit a thousand doctors, present a GP out of hours service and re-open community hospitals closed under Labour.