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Surgeons welcome the progress made to reduce two-year waits, but warn of a ‘mammoth task’ ahead in Wales

23 Jun 2022

Surgeons in Wales have welcomed the progress made to reduce two-year waits, but warned of a ‘mammoth task’ ahead without the rapid establishment of regional surgical hubs, or elective centres, across Wales.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England’s comments come as new data show the number of ‘patient pathways’ for April 2022 hit a record 707,098.

The Stats Wales data show in April 2022, there were 68,032 two-year waits, a slight decrease – of 2,385 – on the previous month. The ‘patient pathway’ data cover the time a patient waited from referral to hospital for treatment in the NHS in Wales. The data include time spent waiting for any hospital appointments, tests, scans or other procedures that may be needed2.

The most common treatments with very long waits (two years or more) are in trauma and orthopaedics [19,607], general surgery [8,460], ENT [10,226] and urology [4,921].

Commenting on the figures, Professor Jon Barry, Director for Wales at The Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

“We welcome the progress made against tackling two-year waits in Wales. But today’s figures still reflect the impossible challenge facing surgeons in Wales. The Welsh Government has set a target of eliminating two-year waits in most specialties by March 2023. However, without the infrastructure needed to create additional capacity across the health system, this will be a mammoth task.

“The Welsh Government must begin to deliver on the commitment set out in its Planned Care Recovery Plan. This includes creating regional surgical hubs, or elective centres, across Health Board boundaries in Wales. This is key to building resilience and capacity into the health system in Wales.”

Notes to editors

  1. Full, historical Stats Wales Referral to Treatment Waiting Times can be found here.
  2. In March 2016, Stats Wales changed some of the terminology used in referral to treatment reporting. Previously, when publishing these statistics, they used the terminology patients. It is possible that a person could be on a number of different lists waiting for different conditions – i.e. there would be one patient but more than one pathway. Due to the RTT dataset being an aggregate data collection Stats Wales say they are not able to measure the number of unique patients. Therefore, they are using the terminology ‘patient pathways’, to reflect the fact that one person can be on multiple waiting lists.
  3. The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) is a professional membership organisation and registered charity. The College provides world-class education, assessment and development to more than 28,000 surgeons, dental professionals and members of the wider surgical and dental care teams, at all stages of their career. The College sets professional standards, facilitates research and champions the best outcomes for patients – with a vision to see excellent surgical care for everyone.
  4. For more information, please contact the Press Office:

Telephone: 020 7869 6047/6052


            Out-of-hours media enquiries: 0207 869 6056.


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