NHS in Wales faces once in a generation challenge

Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, responds to the latest NHS monthly activity and performance statistics in Wales.

24 March 2022

Responding to the latest monthly NHS performance statistics in Wales, Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said:

“This month’s activity and performance statistics illustrate the very real impact of the ongoing system-wide pressures on our ability to provide healthcare and support to the people of Wales. The human and financial costs of the pandemic will continue for years to come.

“We must be honest with the public about the ongoing challenges facing the health and care system and the staff working within it. With many things almost ‘back to normal’ in society, it’s easy to forget the ever-present need for Covid vigilance in health and care that continues to affect our ability to deliver services. The increasing Covid transmission in the community and therefore hospitalisations continue to seriously impact on staff absence and capacity across the system whilst we are still seeing increasing numbers of people presenting with higher levels of acuity, needing more advanced treatment.

“The picture remains serious and we must acknowledge the fact that Covid continues to have a huge impact on service delivery and patient care as does the difficult and challenging financial settlement. Waiting times and performance will not be fixed overnight – there is no quick fix here. It’s fair to say the NHS now faces a once in a generation challenge given the size of the care backlog, major pressure on emergency care services, staff shortages and widening health inequalities. What we do know is that leaders are committed to doing everything in their power to improve the situation.”