Improvements in waiting times as busy year for emergency departments continues
The Health Minister Vaughan Gething responds to the latest NHS performance statistics published today.
The minister said:
The busy year for frontline emergency department staff continued in June and the total number of attendees in the first 6 months of 2019 has now passed 520,000. Despite this pressure, I’m encouraged to see the vast majority of emergency care sites improved access performance on last month. I am still concerned about the timeliness at a small number of sites but we are working with them to improve performance.
Fewer patients waited longer than 12 hours in emergency departments for admission to a hospital bed when compared with May, and delayed transfers of Care are down 3% on the same period last year – the 2nd lowest June total on record. However, I expect health boards to work with local authorities to deliver better performance in both these areas.
Reducing the longest waiting times for elective procedures is a priority for the Welsh Government and I recently announced an extra £50 million to help do that. The latest data shows a 19% reduction in waits over 36 weeks when compared with the same period last year. We expect health boards to implement local plans based on extra investment at pace, alongside targeting improvements in cancer performance.
Emergency ambulance responsiveness again remained above the national target with improvements in performance against the 8 minute standard and the typical response time for ‘red’ calls when compared to May. This was despite reporting the 4th highest average daily red call volume since a new model was introduced nearly 4 years ago.
I have also written to the UK government calling for urgent action to resolve the concerns of medical staff over pension and tax implications that are leading to some not undertaking additional hours. This could have a serious impact on our efforts to improve waiting times and access to services in Wales. I will be making this point again during the forthcoming consultation on the England and Wales NHS Pension Scheme.