Despite immense challenges, figures show how far the NHS has come
- 53 per cent of red (immediately life threatening) calls to the ambulance service received an emergency response within eight minutes in April. This was 5.6 percentage points higher than in March and 1.9 percentage points higher than in April 2022 and the best for almost a year (May 2022).
- In March, the number of patient pathways waiting to start treatment increased from around 731,000 to around 734,700, the first increase after falling for five months.
- The number of pathways waiting longer than 36 weeks decreased for the seventh consecutive month in March, to just under 228,000, the lowest since April 2021 but remaining high in historical context.
- About 31,700 pathways were waiting more than two years in March, 55 per cent lower than the peak and falling for a year after a consistent increase throughout 2021.
Responding to the latest NHS performance statistics in Wales, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation Darren Hughes said:
“In the face of persistently high demand, responses in emergency care improved in April, with a higher percentage of red (immediately life threatening) calls receiving a response within 8 minutes compared to the previous month, the best for almost a year.
“There are some signs progress in tackling waiting lists stalled in March, however the longest waits continue to be reduced, now 55 per cent lower than the peak and falling for a year after a consistent increase throughout 2021. Although the situation is far from ideal, this is the lowest in almost two years and shows just how far the NHS has come and the phenomenal efforts of staff.
“NHS organisations continue to deliver in an increasingly difficult financial context with ongoing and extreme challenges in patient flow due to the inability to discharge patients needing social care support. Without significant investment in the NHS’s deteriorating estates and exhausted workforce, the sustainability of health and care services are at risk. We need an open and honest conversation with the public about what the future looks like and the changes needed at a time of extreme financial constraints. All government departments need to give greater focus to prevention to save the NHS from constantly fighting fires for years to come.
“Now covering all of Wales, the use of the NHS 111 service, including the website and symptom checker, has increased as a first point contact for advice providing greater access to information for patients whose needs are not immediately life-threatening."