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‘Clear strategic plan’ needed to support COVID-light surgical hubs as waiting lists in Wales hit record highs

18 Nov 2021

The Royal College of Surgeons of England has responded to figures, published today, showing the number of patients waiting for treatment in Wales has reached a record 668,801. Surgeons have emphasised the need for a clear strategic plan to support the creation of COVID-light surgical hubs to improve the recovery of surgical services in Wales.

The Welsh Government data show 668,801 people were waiting for treatment in September 2021. A total of 240,306 patients have been waiting more than 9 months for treatment, a slight decrease on the previous month of nearly 3,368. In September 2020, there were 517,878 people on the waiting list and 168,944 of these had been waiting more than 9 months.1 The largest number of patients waiting are for trauma and orthopaedic surgery [96,702], general surgery [79,346] and urology [<40,108].

Miss Susan Hill, a consultant vascular surgeon in Cardiff and acting Director for Wales at The Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

“Today’s waiting time figures are yet another blow to patients waiting to start treatment. We know waiting lists are at record highs. The harsh reality is that patients’ lives are frequently left on hold as they wait for a return to a life free of pain and suffering.

“We now need to build on the pledges made by the Health Minister at the Planned Care Summit3 earlier this month to transform surgical services. A clear strategic plan outlining how and when COVID-light surgical hubs will be built is urgently needed to bring down the number of people waiting for treatment.”

Notes to editors

  1. Full, historical Stats Wales Consultant-led 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.
  3. The Planned Care Summit was organised by the Welsh Government, in collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Bevan Commission. The aim was to discuss how the NHS in Wales can incorporate new ways of working and recover from the pandemic.
  4. For more information, please contact the RCS Press Office:
    Telephone: 020 7869 6052/6054
    For out-of-hours media enquiries: 020 7869 6056

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