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    03 May, 2006

    Assembly Diary

    With all the bad headlines about the National Health Service deficits in England, it is nice to have some good news to report about the Health Service in Wales. At the end of March, there were no patients waiting more than 12 months for inpatient or day case treatment in Wales. It is the first time since records based on Welsh residents began that no-one has been waiting more than 12 months.

    Of course, most Welsh patients are seen far more quickly than 12 months.

    · All emergency admissions (between 60 and 70% of all those seen in Welsh hospitals) are treated immediately.

    · For planned operations, over half of those on the in-patient list have been waiting for under three months. This suggests that half of Welsh patients, once an operation has been specified by the consultant, wait less than three months for hospital treatment.

    · Eight out of ten patients are treated within six months, on that basis.

    · Of the remaining two out of ten, all are treated within twelve months.

    As well as bringing down long waits, the average length of time for all Welsh patients was reduced over the last twelve months. Average waiting times in England rose over the same period.

    As far as outpatients are concerned, the target for the end of March was to have no-one waiting more than 12 months. A year before that, there were 13,845 patients in this position. On 31 March 2006, there were only 15! That’s a reduction of 99.9%. And none of the 15 are waiting for treatment at a Welsh NHS Trust. Of the 15 still waiting, 13 were from South East Wales, and were waiting for appointments in Bristol. None of the 13 were referrals from GPs.

    Of course, as with in-patient treatment, most Welsh patients wait far less than 12 months for an out-patient appointment. On the basis set out earlier:

    · 55% are seen within three months

    · 80% are seen within six months

    · 100% are seen within twelve months

    I don’t want to get complacent, and we want to do even better. We have set challenging targets to bring down waiting times even further. But these figures show that overall, the NHS in Wales is going in the right direction.

    Rhondda TV
    The Labour Party

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.