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Surgeons urge Welsh Health Boards to tackle growing waiting lists

23 Jan 2020


Analysis by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) of November waiting times in Wales, show a further decline in performance against the Welsh Government’s targets:

  • 392,353 (84.7%) of patients were waiting up to 26 weeks in November 2019. This was slightly worse than figures from the previous month (84.8%) and significantly worse than the same time last year (87.8%). The Welsh Government’s target is 95%
  • 22,879 (4.9%) of patients were waiting over 36 weeks to start treatment in November. This was worse than the previous month (4.5%) and significantly worse than the same time last year (3.1%). The Welsh Government’s target is for no one to wait more than 36 weeks in Wales.

Responding to the data published today, Mr Richard Johnson, RCS Director in Wales and Consultant Breast Surgeon said:

“These figures are disappointing. Despite the hard work of NHS staff and additional investment from Welsh Government, too many patients are still waiting too long for treatment in Wales. The Government’s targets have been missed again.

"Long waits for surgery can be traumatising for patients and their families. Today’s figures show more patients are having to wait over 36 weeks to start treatment, which is unfair and potentially devastating for them. Many are left for weeks on end, waiting in pain, unable to go to work or look after their family.

“We welcomed the Government’s announcement of £50m for waiting times last summer, and the further £30m in October to tackle winter pressures. It is essential this money reaches frontline services, so that patients begin to see improvements.

“Health Boards need to bring more hospital beds online, ensuring there is capacity to continue to perform essential operations that keep people mobile and living independently. Improving the availability of community beds and social care services for people in their own home is also needed, and could significantly reduce unnecessary and prolonged hospital admissions.

"We urge Welsh Government and Health Boards not to let up in their focus on reducing the backlog of patients waiting for surgery in Wales.”

Notes to editors

  1. Full data is available here:
  2. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.
  3. For more information, please contact the RCS press office: telephone: 020 7869 6047; email:; out-of-hours media enquiries: 07966 486832.

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