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Wales records worst ever A&E waits

Only 72.1% of patients waited less than four hours in A&E departments in Wales in December

Ingrid Torjesen

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Waiting times for A&E departments in Wales were the worst ever recorded in December, with only 72.1% of patients waiting less than four hours and a record number waiting more than 12 hours.

The A&E target in Wales is for 95% of patients to be seen in within four hours.

The Welsh Ambulance Service also missed its target for responding to red calls – those deemed immediately life-threatening - for a second month.

The December figures showed only 72.1% waited less than four hours in A&E to be treated, transferred or discharged, compared with 74.4% in November and 77.8% in December 2018.

A record number of patients - 6,656 - waited more than 12 hours in December which is a record high.

In December the ambulance service responded to 62% of red calls within eight minutes, a slight improvement on the 61.4% performance in November. The target is 65%. Last month average daily red calls increased to the highest on record and exceeded 100 for the first time.

Minister for health and social services, Vaughan Gething, has announced an extra £10m to ease winter pressures on the NHS.

“Last month saw record high demand on the ambulance service, the highest number of attendance at emergency departments for any December and record numbers of emergency admissions for over 75-year-olds,” he said. “There has been a welcome reduction in delayed transfers of care but too many patients are spending long periods in emergency departments waiting for a hospital bed. We want Health Boards to work with partners to improve the flow of patients through the hospital system and out into the community, and I have made an extra £10m available to support improvement in this area.”

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