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Wales finally sees improvement in waiting times but still more work to do

09 Feb 2017

StatsWales data published today for December 2016 show that during 2016 waiting times started to improve in the Welsh NHS. 

The equivalent of 64,966 patients (14.9%) in Wales waited more than 26 weeks to start treatment despite the Welsh Government’s target of 95% of patients meeting this figure. In December 2015 there were 72,392 instances of patients waiting more than 26 weeks for treatment - 16.5% of all patients.

However, for trauma and orthopaedic surgery, the equivalent of 8,627 (13.5%) patients waited more than 36 weeks in December. 

Mr Tim Havard, RCS Director of Professional Affairs for Wales and a consultant general surgeon, said:

“Although waiting times in Wales are starting to go in the right direction, overall waits are still too long with the Welsh Government’s 26 and 36 target missed by some margin.

“Waiting times for trauma and orthopaedic surgery are a particular concern, with the equivalent of 8,627 patients still waiting more than 36 weeks for treatment. Waiting times in North Wales are especially bad, with patients waiting more than 2 years for hip operations within the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area. Such delays cause increased stress on patients and their families, and can result in their condition worsening.

“These waiting times are a consequence of wider pressures facing the Welsh health service, with hospital wards being filled with patients that should be treated in the community, and a continued squeeze on finances.

“Patients in Wales deserve to have timely access to care. Although there has been progress, NHS Wales and the Government must continue to focus on policies that will get patient waiting times down.”

Notes to editors

1. Full data available here: 

2. Please note that Wales records data according to number of treatments rather than number of patients

3. 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.

4. For more information, please contact the RCS Press Office

Telephone: 020 7869 6047/6052
For out of hours media enquiries: 07966 486832

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