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12+ hour A&E waits up 21% as AM warns of ‘protracted crisis’

New data for 2016/17 has revealed the highest number of Welsh A&E patients facing waits of more than 12 hours to be treated.

According to Welsh Government ‘summary data’ there were 1,003,710 attendances to Accident & Emergency departments in 2016/17 – an average of 2,750 a day.

However, there was a “deeply worrying” rise in the number of patients forced to wait more than 12 hours for treatment – with 33,834 patients (5,818 more than in 2015/16 and a rise of almost 21%).

It’s the highest number since records began in 2013/14.

Shadow Health Minister, Angela Burns, said:

“This is no longer about winter pressures or seasonal difficulties – Welsh A&E units are now experiencing a protracted and deeply worrying crisis.

“This report suggests that more patients than ever are now spending more than 12 hours in A&E, and it’s hard to find anyone who thinks that the picture for 2017/18 won’t be even worse.

“Labour ministers, working with NHS chiefs, need to show much more innovative thinking in how it tackles the crisis affecting our emergency services, and this begins with reviewing its risk management procedures.

“Surely opening an extra bed on a ward is less risky than leaving a desperately ill patient to languish in A&E for 12 hours.”