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Surgeons call for ‘elective centres’ as the number of patient pathways waiting for treatment reaches 701,418

19 May 2022

Surgeons are calling on the Welsh government to roll out regional surgical hubs, or elective centres, as waiting lists in Wales have soared to a record high.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England’s comments come as new data show the number of patient pathways waiting for treatment in Wales in March 2022 reached a record 701,418.

The Stats Wales data also reveal 253,177 patient pathways were waiting over nine months for treatment, which is an increase – of 1,530 – on the previous month. In March 2021, there were 568,367 patient pathways on the waiting list and 216,418 of these had been waiting more than nine months. For March 2022, the largest number of patient pathways are for trauma and orthopaedic surgery [97,522], general surgery [86,544], ENT [59,346] and urology [42,694].

The data also show a record numbers of patients are facing long waits, more than two years, for treatment. 9,238 patient pathways in the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, 6,921 in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, 18,189 in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, 13,457 in Swansea Bay University Health Board, 8,727 in Hywel Dda University Health Board and 13,885 in Cwm Taf University Health Board were waiting over two years for treatment.

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

“Today’s figures are a brutal reminder of the challenges facing the health service in Wales. Every month, we are witnessing an increase in the number of patients waiting in pain to begin their treatment, which is very distressing.

“We are still concerned about the number of patients waiting a very long time across Health Boards in Wales. As waiting lists hit a record high, there is a risk that, in some cases, patients will have to wait years for treatment, which is unacceptable. To resolve this, the Welsh government needs to deliver on the commitments set out in its Planned Care Recovery Plan. This includes creating regional surgical hubs, or elective centres, to make access to planned surgery fairer.”

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.
  3. For more information, please contact the Press Office:

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