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The Welsh Government have issued a statement on the latest NHS Wales performance data published today.

First published:
23 March 2023
Last updated:

The Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, said:

Despite continued pressure on services over the winter, the overall picture from January and February is of progress being made and improvements in most areas. I have been clear with NHS leaders that I expect these improvements to continue and at a greater pace as we head into the warmer months.

I am reassured to see further improvement in emergency care, with the highest proportion of patients triaged, assessed and discharged from emergency departments within four hours and the fewest long ambulance handovers since September 2021.

This is the sixth consecutive month performance at major emergency departments in Wales has bettered English performance. However, we know there is more to be done and people accessing emergency care or awaiting a hospital bed sometimes wait for longer than we would like.

I also note the best ambulance performance reported since last September, despite the additional strain felt across the health service as a result of industrial action and high levels of demand.

For planned care, there were 576,000 individual patients on treatment waiting lists in January, a fourth consecutive monthly fall and 1,800 patients fewer than in December. For longer waiting times, the number of people waiting longer than 36 weeks to start treatment decreased for the fifth consecutive month, while the number of pathways waiting more than two years fell for the tenth month in a row.  

The number of pathways waiting longer than a year for a first outpatient appointment decreased by nearly 10% compared to the previous month to around 68,000, a reduction of 34% from the peak in August 2022.

I’m pleased that 13,429 patients were informed they did not have cancer, an increase of 17.5% on the previous month.  In January, 1,760 people started their first treatment after a new cancer diagnosis in January, 183 more than in January 2022 and the sixth highest figure on record.

But cancer performance is still not where I expect it to be. The proportion of pathways starting treatment within 62 days of cancer first being suspected was the lowest on record.  However this reflects our current focus on reducing the number of people that have already waited longer than 62-days for investigation or treatment.

We are investing heavily in cancer services to improve early detection and provide rapid access to investigation, treatment and high-quality care. This includes £86m for new cancer diagnostic and treatment facilities and the increase in the number of training places, with more specialists in cancer diagnosis and treatment. The NHS’s Cancer Improvement Plan, published in January, will help improve patient outcomes and experiences in the long term, prevent and detect cancer earlier and reduce waiting times.

I have this week asked the Chief Executive of the NHS in Wales that all health boards put an even greater focus on speeding up early diagnosis and treatment for cancer, ahead of the Ministerial cancer summit next week.