Welsh Government response to release of latest NHS Wales performance data

“Our health services continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic. We have seen more people presenting with health problems, but the reduction in the working day due to the Easter holidays will have had an impact on the capacity for planned care. April saw fewer referrals for outpatient first appointments compared to the previous month.

The number of patient journeys awaiting treatment increased slightly in April by 0.8% (707,099) compared to the previous month. But the number of pending lanes over two years fell 3.4% from March 2022. This is the first decline since the start of the pandemic.

In April, the number of patient journeys waiting longer than the 14-week target time for therapies decreased by 10.5% compared to March 2022 and marks the first monthly decline since May 2021.

The number of patient journeys awaiting diagnosis increased by 0.3% compared to the previous month with eight-week journeys waiting for diagnostic tests also increasing by 8%. However, this is a 28% drop from the May 2020 high.

In April, fewer people started their first definitive cancer treatment within 62 days of suspecting cancer, compared to March. 10,539 lanes suspected of having cancer were informed that they did not have cancer; it is also a decrease compared to the previous month.

999 Emergency Ambulance and Emergency Services staff and services remain under considerable pressure due to capacity issues across the health and social services system. This situation has been accentuated recently by higher than expected levels of sickness absence.

There have been small improvements in emergency and emergency care thanks to the hard work and commitment of the staff. There were improvements in ambulance responsiveness and emergency service performance in May compared to April and the majority of patients continue to receive safe and timely care.

However, we remain concerned about the levels of delay experienced by patients on occasion and are working with all stakeholders through national programs to support improvement.

Importantly, in April 2022, over 300,000 patient consultations were undertaken by the NHS in Wales.

Jacob L. Thornton