Summer demand on NHS increasingly as challenging as winter

The Welsh NHS Confederation's assistant director, Nesta Lloyd-Jones, responds to the latest NHS performance statistics in Wales.

21 July 2022

Out today (Thursday 21 July 2022), the latest NHS Wales monthly performance statistics show:

  • In June, 88,000 calls were answered by the 111 service in Wales - almost 17,000 (almost 20%) more answered calls than in May.
  • In June, 3,728 red (life threatening) calls were made to the ambulance service – an increase on the previous month.
  • There was an average of 2,953 daily attendances to emergency departments across Wales, a slight increase in activity compared with the previous month.
  • There was a reduction in the number of pathways waiting over two years and the average time patient pathways had been waiting for treatment at the end of May decreased on the previous month.

Responding on behalf of the Welsh NHS Confederation, assistant director Nesta Lloyd-Jones said:

“We welcome the Welsh Government’s announcement of a further £3m investment to recruit 100 more emergency ambulance staff and to introduce a new Cymru High Acuity Response Unit. These should further support the ambulance service to respond to rising demand and improve outcomes for people who have suffered cardiac arrest, respectively.

“Numbers of those coming forward for, and those waiting to start, treatment continues to increase - not through any reduction in NHS activity, but due to the sheer demand on the service. For example, May saw an admirable 73,000 patient pathways concluding their treatment, an increase of 8,000 compared on the previous month.

“With high volumes of red (life threatening) calls to the ambulance service and more people attending emergency departments, it’s no wonder the NHS is creaking under these consistently high levels of pressure. We must remember that it’s not just high demand and unrelenting pressure on a whole system, but on individual teams and members of staff who give their all to help the people of Wales, day in day out.

“Therefore, funding for more frontline ambulance staff is only addressing part of the problem. Unless we can improve patient flow and speed up hospital discharge by alleviating the pressure on and creating capacity in social care, we’ll continue to see a large number of patients waiting longer than we’d like them to for both urgent and emergency care and planned care.

“These challenges may hinder the resilience of the NHS as Covid cases and Covid-related staff absences have risen over recent weeks, and as the challenges that health and care organisations face in summer increasingly look as difficult as those experienced in winter.”