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Waiting time figures show ‘dire situation’ in Wales

18 Mar 2021

Referral to Treatment (RTT) waiting time statistics in Wales, published today, show there were 221,849 patients waiting more than nine months (36 weeks) to start hospital treatment in January 2021. This compares to 27,314 patients who were waiting more than nine months in January 2020. The figures show that overall, there are 541,702 patients waiting for treatment in Wales.

Commenting on the figures, Mr Richard Johnson, Director for Wales of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

“These numbers show how dire the situation is in Wales. A huge waiting list has built up under the COVID-19 pandemic. Dealing with this daunting backlog will take time, and also sustained investment in the NHS.

“A record number of people are waiting for treatment in Wales. Over half a million people are now waiting, often in pain and suffering, for an operation in Wales.

“For some time, we have been calling on Welsh Government to urgently start planning and set up Covid light sites, or elective hubs on a regional basis, to try and eliminate the backlog.

“We will shortly be publishing our ‘Action Plan for Surgical Services in Wales’ outlining the steps that need to be taken for the recovery of surgical services. We urge the Welsh Government and policy makers in Wales to implement our recommendations.” 


Notes to editors

  • Under Welsh Government targets, no patient should wait longer than 36 weeks.
  • RTT statistics for January 2021 were published at 09.30am this morning here:
  • The stats show 221,849 patients were waiting over 36 weeks for treatment in January 2021, compared to 27,314 in January 2020.
  • 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. For more information, please contact the Press Office: Tel. 0207 869 6047/6052; email:  For out-of-hours media enquiries, please telephone: 0207 869 6056 

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