New figures show ‘distressing’ waiting times for hospital treatment in Wales
17 Jun 2021
The Royal College of Surgeons of England has today urged the Welsh Government to make waiting times their top priority, as new figures show a record number of patients waiting to start treatment in Wales.
The statistics, for April 2021, show that:
- A record 595,272 people waiting for hospital treatment in Wales.
- 223,365 are waiting nine months or more, across Wales. The most common long waits are for trauma and orthopaedic treatment (87,918), general surgery patients (70,084), such as gallbladder and hernia operations. 50,962 people were waiting for Ear, Nose or Throat treatment.
Mr Richard Johnson, Director for Wales of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:
“It is very distressing to see that, yet again, waiting times have increased for patients needing hospital treatment in Wales. For those of us working on the frontline, this does not come as a surprise, but it is still very worrying. There are now nearly 600,000 people on the NHS hospital waiting list. We need to get surgery back to pre-pandemic levels as soon as possible. Unless we have a clear plan for reducing the backlog, it will take years for us to catch up. Behind each of these statistics are people waiting in pain or discomfort for operations, such as hip and knee replacements, ear, nose and throat surgery, or breast reconstruction after mastectomy. These operations are crucial to reducing pain, restoring a patient’s quality of life or mobility and, in some cases, their ability to work.
“There is no quick solution, but we must focus on restoring patients’ access to timely surgery. For more than a year now, we have been calling for the creation of Covid-light surgical hubs across Wales, so that elective surgery can continue safely even if there are new variants of the virus, or outbreaks of seasonal flu. The Welsh government must make waiting times their top priority by allocating funding both for surgical hubs and to training more surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists.”
The College’s Action Plan for the Recovery of Surgical Services in Wales, was published in March.
Notes to editors
1. Referral to Treatment Waiting Times can be found here: https://statswales.gov.wales/Catalogue/Health-and-Social-Care/NHS-Hospital-Waiting-Times/Referral-to-Treatment/patientpathwayswaitingtostarttreatment-by-month-groupedweeks-treatmentfunction
2. The College’s ‘Action Plan for the Recovery of Surgical Services in Wales’ report can be found here: https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/about-the-rcs/government-relations-and-consultation/position-statements-and-reports/action-plan-for-wales/
3. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance patient care. We support over 28,000 members in the UK and internationally by improving their skills and knowledge, facilitating research and developing policy and guidance.
4. For more information, please contact the Press Office: Tel. 0207 869 6052/6047; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For out-of-hours media enquiries, please telephone: 0207 869 6056.