THE Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised the length of NHS Wales waiting times following the release of January’s A&E data showing waiting times to be the worst on record having risen yet again.

6,882 patients across NHS Wales waited more than 12 hours in A&E to be treated, transferred and discharged. This is 226 more people than in December. NHS Wales targets specify no-one should need wait that long.

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83.5% of patients were waiting less than six months to start hospital treatment, substantially less than the 95% target. Whilst 5.5% of patients waited more than 36 weeks from the hospitals’ receipt of the referral letter.

Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, commented:

“A&E waiting times are unacceptable. Every patient forced to wait in overcrowded hospital waiting rooms and corridors is a patient being let down by the very service built to support them.

“We know pressures on the NHS are always greater in winter, but these new figures clearly show that the challenges facing our A&E departments go far beyond seasonal pressures.

“Our hard-working NHS staff are doing all they can in exceptionally difficult circumstances, but it is unfair that many feel no choice but to work longer shifts and sacrifice their breaks to help care for their patients.

“It is vital that the Welsh Government urgently gets to grips with A&E waiting times so we can improve patient safety, increase staff retention and give patients the quality treatment they deserve.”

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