The Welsh Government has responded to the latest NHS Performance data published today (November 23rd).
A Welsh Government spokesperson said:
The pressure on our NHS services has continued to grow as we enter the toughest time of the year. Despite the fact that waiting lists have grown overall, it is encouraging to see that the longest waits are continuing to fall. The majority of people waiting on an individual waiting list (patient pathway) are waiting less than 26 weeks.
We are pleased to see that patients waiting longer than one year for their first outpatient appointment also decreased. This was despite there being more than 4,000 referrals for first outpatient appointments made per day on average in September.
The number of people being informed they do not have cancer also increased, but it is concerning that so many are missing the target date for treatment. The Welsh Government is exerting significant pressure on health boards to improve performance.
It is also positive that the number of people calling the NHS 111 Wales service continues to rise. October saw the highest numbers of callers on record having their call answered within 60 seconds. This is helping patient experience and supporting people to access the right treatment, at the right time, in the right place.
Although the increase in the total waiting list this month is very small, it is disappointing to see them at their highest levels on record - that is due to the continued number of people joining the waiting lists, with the highest annual number of new referrals on record in the latest 12 months.
Health boards are working hard to tackle the longest waits but the most urgent cases must always be seen first.
Today, we have announced funding of up to £29.4m for a new Orthopaedic hub at Llandudno Hospital to help reduce orthopaedic waiting times. Orthopaedic treatment is where the longest lists are in the NHS.
The new hub will transform elective orthopaedic services at Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board and provide benefits for patients, staff and the wider North Wales community, by delivering a planned 1,900 procedures a year.
Our hard-working NHS staff continue to operate amid high and increasing levels of demand. October had the highest number of attendances at Emergency Departments for any October on record.
October also saw the second highest proportion of immediately life threatening calls (red ambulance calls) reported on record, and the second highest average number of daily red calls.
This year there are 119 more ambulance staff working to ease the pressure compared to last year.
We expect health boards to improve ambulance patient handover performance to free up ambulance capacity as a priority, but often there is a hold up at the back of the hospital with people who have already been treated unable to leave because of the fragility of the community care services. The Welsh Government is working hand in glove with local councils to try and fix this issue.
We continue to support health boards to achieve the new targets for reducing the longest waits set by the Health Minister, amid extreme budget pressures.