Performance in Wales remains stable despite unwavering demand

Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation Darren Hughes responds to the latest NHS performance statistics in Wales, for May and June.

20 July 2023

  • In May, there was an average of 3,278 daily attendances to emergency departments, the highest figure on record. Despite this, performance increased slightly against the four hour target (to the best it’s been since April 2021) and the twelve hour target. 
  • Overall waiting lists, aka patient pathways, increased in May from around 743,000 to just under 748,400. This equates to around 584,000 individual patients on treatment waiting lists.  
  • On the whole, performance in planned care was very similar to the previous month. The number of pathways waiting longer than 36 weeks, more than 36 weeks and average time waiting decreased slightly, although remained high in historical context. Pathways waiting longer than one year for their first outpatient appointment also decreased to around 52,400, a reduction of 49% from the peak in August 2022. 

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

“The latest figures show performance remained at similar levels in May and June compared to April and May, particularly in planned care.

“However, May saw the highest level of demand on record for average daily attendances to emergency departments (EDs). Despite this, performance in EDs increased slightly against both the four and twelve hour targets. This shows the incredible determination and hard work of staff in the face of adversity. 

“It’s clear that pressure on services no longer falls into ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ categories, giving staff and services little room to breathe. Unless governments make wider system and societal changes, we cannot expect these exceptional levels of demand to fall. 

“We therefore need an open and honest conversation with the public about what the future health and care service looks like. This must be centred on an NHS that is adequately and sustainably funded, an NHS that is taking care and prevention to people and their 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.  

“It is for the population and all sectors across Wales to ask what they can do 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.”