Performance stats show positive signs, but pressures have rocketed since

Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation Darren Hughes responds to the latest NHS performance statistics in Wales.

22 December 2022

  • In November there were 4,602 red (life threatening) calls to the ambulance service, 13.2% of all calls. This was the highest number of red calls ever made in a month, the highest proportion of all calls and the highest average daily number of immediately life-threatening calls, at 153. 
  • In October, the number of patient pathways waiting to start treatment fell for the first time since April 2020, from 755,000 to 753,000, as well as the number of individual patients waiting to start treatment falling.* 
  • October saw over 106,000 patient pathways closed, back to pre-pandemic levels. This was an increase of 12.8% from the previous month and the highest since February 2020. 

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

“It’s extremely positive to see overall waiting lists decreasing for the first time since the pandemic began. This shows how hard staff continue to work to deliver care to patients, despite facing some of the highest levels of demand on record, especially in urgent and emergency care. In several areas across planned care, activity is back to at least pre-pandemic levels and there are real signs of progress. 

“There’s no hiding from the fact that the NHS in Wales is dealing with the most pressure it’s ever experienced, with red (immediately-life threatening) calls to 999 the highest on record, over 1,000 patients in hospital beds they don’t need to be in, and high levels of flu and other winter viruses in our communities. And these statistics are based on the months before strike action. 

“With pressures building and as the impact of strike action is felt in the days and weeks that follow, we must expect statistics to worsen, with both patients and staff bearing the brunt.  

“Without a long-term investment plan to transform social care, and without the Welsh and UK Governments entering into meaningful negotiations with trade unions, any progress made, or planning and preparation to mitigate the worst of the effects of pressures, will be inconsequential. 

“As we approach the Christmas break, we ask the public to access services appropriately by only calling 999 in an immediately life-threatening emergency and using the NHS 111 website as a first port of call for less urgent problems.”