The latest NHS performance stats released today show the volume and scale of the increasing demand that the NHS in Wales faces.
A&E attendances were the third highest May on record. Emergency admissions volumes for May are also among the highest on record and pressure on emergency care facilities continues to grow, with the medium term trend showing attendances up by 7.5% over the year since 2014.
While there are positives to take from this month’s data, it’s clear that there are still areas where the NHS in Wales faces challenges including in waiting times for scheduled and unscheduled care.
The Health Minister has been clear with NHS Wales boards and trusts about the need to deliver improvements in performance quickly.
Against this backdrop of increasing demand, it is encouraging that progress is being made in some areas:
- More patients started cancer treatment within the target time in the last 12 months than in the previous 12 months.
- WAST have met the ambulance response time target for the 42nd consecutive month despite rising numbers of calls.
- Delayed transfers of Care are 6% down on the same period last year and this is both the second lowest total in the year to date and the second lowest May total recorded in the 14 years that DToC data has been collected and published.
- Despite increasing pressure, there was a small improvement in the 4 hour performance from last month of 1.7 percentage points.
- The vast majority of people to access care in emergency facilities were triaged, assessed, treated and returned home within 4 hours. The standard / average time spent in emergency care facilities was below 2 hours 30 minutes.
- Waiting times for diagnostic and referral time for treatment (RTT) have improved since April last year, with less people waiting over 8 weeks for diagnostics and over 14 weeks for therapy services. The RTT performance for 26 weeks has improved and is 0.4 percentage points higher and there were 25% fewer patients waiting over 36 weeks comparing April 2019 to April 2018.
However, the numbers of people waiting over 12 hours for admission to a hospital bed remains a concern and further actions are necessary around unscheduled care. We are working with health and social care partners to address this as a priority.