NHS doing all it can to meet demand for care

Assistant director of the Welsh NHS Confederation Nesta Lloyd-Jones responds to the latest NHS performance statistics in Wales.

21 September 2023

  • In August, 71,230 calls were made to 111 helpline service, with 95% of calls answered. This was the highest proportion answered on record.
  • In August, there were just under 92,800 attendances to all emergency departments, an average of 2,993 attendance per day. Performance decreased slightly against the four hour target and the twelve hour target.
  • In August there were 3,926 red (life threatening) calls to the ambulance service. 50.4% of red calls received an emergency response within eight minutes, the lowest since September 2022.
  • Overall waiting lists, aka patient pathways, increased in July from around 753,300 to just under 757,400, the fifth consecutive increase and highest figure on record. This equates to around 593,000 individual patients on treatment waiting lists in Wales.  
  • In July, 56.6% of pathways started their first definitive treatment within 62 days of first being suspected of cancer. This was 3.2 percentage points higher than the previous month, 0.9 percentage points higher than July 2022 and the highest since March 2023.

Responding to the latest NHS performance statistics in Wales, assistant director of the Welsh NHS Confederation Nesta Lloyd - Jones said: 

"This has undoubtedly been one of the busiest summers the NHS has experienced for some time, with increased demand across the system. This shows the incredible determination and hard work of staff in the face of adversity. 

“Attendances to emergency departments are higher than in previous summers and while the proportion of red calls responded to within 8 minutes by the ambulance service has fallen slightly, there has been a significant increase in the number of red calls received. In the latest twelve months there were around 50,000 red calls, more than twice as many as in 2017 (22,000).

“It’s clear that pressure on services continues throughout the summer months, giving staff and services little room to breathe. Unless governments make wider system and societal changes, we cannot expect these exceptional levels of demand across the system to fall. 

“We therefore need an open and honest conversation with the public about what the future of health and care services looks like. This must be centered on an NHS that is adequately and sustainably funded, an NHS that is taking care and prevention to people and communities, an NHS that empowers and enables, and one that benefits from improving public health. It must be based on an ambitious and honest partnership between the NHS and those it serves.  

“NHS leaders will continue to engage and work with all sectors across Wales to support the health and wellbeing of people now and in the future. Change must happen, it’s simply not an option to stay as we are.”