NHS waiting lists rise despite exceptional levels of activity

Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, responds to the latest performance figures for the NHS in Wales.

20 June 2024

  • In May, just over 36,600 emergency calls were made to the ambulance service. This was an average of 1,182 calls per day, on average 87 more calls per day than the previous month, and 30 (2.6%) more per day than the same month last year. 
  • An average of 165 immediately life-threatening calls were made each day, 12 more than in April and the third highest on record. 
  • In April the number of overall patient pathways increased from just under 768,900 to just over 775,000, the highest figure on record. 
  • For cancer services, more people started their first definitive treatment in April than the previous month, rising to 1,800. The number of pathways closed following the patient being informed they did not have cancer increased to 13,773.   

Responding to the latest performance statistics for the NHS in Wales for April and May, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation Darren Hughes said: 

“There’s no doubt the latest figures make for sobering reading. NHS leaders are all too aware that this is not just a series of numbers on a page, but thousands of people’s lives being affected.  

“The statistics also show sustained high levels of demand on the service, with NHS leaders telling us patients are more ill and therefore needing more treatment. 

“We must acknowledge the relentless hard work of health and care staff and the care they do provide to thousands of people, day in, day out. NHS activity is at exceptionally high levels, it just cannot keep up with the record levels of demand coming in through the front door. 

“The NHS cannot deliver effectively for all patients when things continue to run so hot. We need commitments from governments to longer term thinking, including focusing on prevention, shifting more care into the community, capital investment to make NHS estates more efficient and ringfenced investment so social care staff can have parity of pay. Without this, we cannot expect to see the meaningful change we all want to see.”