19th May 2022
Welsh Government response to publication of latest NHS Wales performance data
The Welsh Government has issued a statement on the latest NHS Wales performance data published today (Thursday, 19th May).
A Welsh Government spokesperson said:
As the health service continues to recover from the pandemic, and more people are coming forward with health concerns, we have seen the highest number of referrals for a first outpatient appointment since January 2020, with just over 115,000 referrals made in March. This increase in referrals helps to explain why the total waiting lists size increased by 1.4% on the previous month. It should be noted that activity levels for treatment and outpatients are at their highest level since the start of the pandemic.
The number of outpatients appointments in March, was the highest since January 2020 (255,384). On top of this the numbers of inpatient and day case treatments, were the highest since the start of the pandemic.
The number of patient pathways closed in March, that is people who have started or no longer require treatment, was the highest since the start of the pandemic, 1.7% more per day on average than in February.
While the total numbers waiting for diagnostic tests continues to increase, the numbers waiting over the 8 weeks target decreased for the second month in a row to their lowest level since April 2021 and by 4.9% compared to February 2022.
March also saw the highest level of activity in cancer services since December 2020. There was a 12.4% increase in the number of people starting their first treatment following a new cancer diagnosis, compared to the previous month. 12,643 pathways were closed following patients being informed they did not have cancer, an increase of 11.1% on February 2022.
The Planned Care Recovery Plan published last month set out a series of ambitions. The first ambition was to reduce the number of open pathways waiting over 52 weeks for a first outpatient appointment to zero by the end of 2022.
In In March 2022, the number of pathways waiting over 52 weeks for the first outpatient appointment decreased by 1% compared to February.
In March 2022, the number of pathways waiting over 52 weeks decreased by 4.8% compared to March 2021.
Despite the percentage of patient pathways waiting more than 36 weeks increasing in March, the average time waiting for treatment fell and the proportion waiting less than 26 weeks increased.
This month sees the first publication of 111 data since the service was rolled out across Wales. In April almost 86,000 calls were made to the 111 service, an average of 2,863 calls per day. The service is run by the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust and can be accessed online at 111.wales.nhs.uk or by telephone by calling 111, will give people up-to-date health advice and guidance on which NHS service is right for them.
999 emergency ambulance and emergency department staff and services remain under considerable pressure and performance is not where we want it to be. Our Six Goals for urgent and emergency care programme has been launched to support improvements in outcomes and experience by helping staff to deliver the right care, in the right place, first time whenever possible.
There was a decrease in average daily attendances to emergency departments in April, and a slight improvement in performance against the targets. The number of life threating ‘red’ calls remains high, increasing by 36% when compared to the same month in 2021. There is a live national delivery plan in place to support continuous improvement, including in support of tackling ambulance patient handover delays.
It is important to note that during March nearly 400,000 patient consultations were seen by the NHS in Wales for emergency or elective treatment.