Labour must act on poor NHS waiting times
The Welsh Labour Government was today urged to act on persistently poor waiting times, causing unnecessary suffering to patients and putting unfair pressure on NHS staff. Image by Welsh Liberal Democrats
Labour regularly misses its NHS performance targets. Its target for patients with urgent suspected cancer beginning treatment within 62 days of diagnosis has not been met since 2008.
Labour’s target for 95% of A&E patients to be seen within four hours has not been met since 2009 and last month saw the highest number of patients on record wait over 12 hours.
Wales has the UK’s lowest ambulance response time target for category calls but that has only been met once in the past two and a half years.
At the end of December 2014, 420,485 patients in Wales were waiting to begin NHS treatment, compared to 187,000 when Carwyn Jones became First Minister in December 2009.
December 2014 also saw a rise to over 20,000 in the number of patients waiting more than eight weeks to access diagnostic services. In the whole of England just 15,600 were waiting more than six weeks in the same month.
Last month, the Wales Audit Office concluded in a report that the Welsh NHS ‘does not deliver sustainably low waiting times’.
Darren Millar AM, Shadow Minister for Health, said, “Carwyn Jones should be thoroughly ashamed of his Labour government’s failure to meet basic NHS performance standards, despite having some of the lowest targets in the UK.
“Under Carwyn Jones’ leadership, Labour have imposed record-breaking cuts to the Welsh NHS budget and the number of patients waiting for treatment has more than doubled.
“Welsh patients are enduring some of the longest waits in the UK for NHS treatment because, despite the efforts of hardworking staff, the decisions of Labour Ministers and health bosses have heaped untold pressure on frontline services.
“Labour Ministers must fully reverse their record-breaking cuts to enable staff to deliver the standards patients expect and reduce waiting times, which alleviate patient worries and give them the best possible chance of successful treatment and recovery.”