MINISTER for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething has issued a statement on today’s (19 November) publication of NHS performance data.
The Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething said: “In March, I directed NHS Wales to postpone all routine procedures and appointments so it could focus on its response to the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since then, our NHS has gradually been providing more routine care. However, every aspect of healthcare has been affected by coronavirus. Our hospitals have had to transform the way they operate to keep staff and people safe and to prevent the spread of the virus. This has had a major impact on capacity, activity and waiting times.
“Today, the publication of our usual NHS performance measures resumes. As expected, we have seen a significant rise in waiting times for elective treatment. Operating with new social distancing restrictions, strict infection control and other measures to keep people safe, mean the NHS is only able to carry out about half the number of procedures every day, compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“The Welsh Ambulance Service has reported its response times have been impacted by the additional time it takes for paramedics to put on the required level of PPE, as well as the need to deep clean vehicles after call outs.
While in the early part of lockdown our Emergency Departments saw a fall in the usual footfall, demand has begun to return to normal levels at a time when they are now operating with reduced capacity due to infection control and physical distancing requirements.
In anticipation of a challenging winter period, we have made an additional £30m funding available to support urgent and emergency care services and increase resilience over the remainder of 2020/21.
“All our health boards now have plans in place to operate under these new circumstances and to see patients in order of clinical priority. However just as in other UK nations it will take a long time to return to the position we were in before the pandemic. That will require significant resources over and above the current funding to respond to the unfinished pandemic.”