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Surgeons in Wales warn of perfect storm

22 Apr 2022

Surgeons in Wales warn of “perfect storm” hitting elective services 

Surgeons in Wales have warned of a "perfect storm" of staff absences and high COVID-19 rates which are hitting the recovery of elective services in Wales.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England’s comments come on the day data show the number of patients waiting for treatment in Wales in February 2022 has reached a record 691,885.

The Stats Wales data show 251,647 people were waiting more than 9 months for treatment, which is an increase – of 755 – on the previous month. In February 2021, there were 549,353 people on the waiting list and 217,655 of these had been waiting more than 9 months. The largest number of patients waiting are for trauma and orthopaedic surgery [98,462], general surgery [85,263], ENT [58,309] and urology [41,768].

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

“Waiting times figures in Wales are still mounting month on month. These are a reflection of the intense and sustained pressure the health service is facing.

“We are hearing from surgeons across Wales that COVID-19 is still impacting planned or elective surgery due to patients and staff testing positive and high levels of staff absence. In some areas, elective services are once again being brought to a standstill. These last-minute cancellations are agonising for patients who are waiting in pain and distress for their planned surgery.

“The Welsh Government must to get to grips with the severity of the situation and establish elective centres or surgical hubs across Wales to get elective services back up and running.”




Notes to editors

1. Full, historical Stats Wales Referral to Treatment Waiting Times can be found here.

2. 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.

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