Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services
Following additional investment of £150 million from Welsh Government over the last 3 years, continual year on year improvements have been seen in NHS elective waiting times. At the end of March 2019:
- 26 week performance was 1.4 percentage points higher than March 2018 and was the best position since July 2013
- the number of people waiting over 36 weeks was 26% lower than the March 2018 position and was the best position since May 2013
- the number of people waiting over 52 weeks was 28% lower than March 2018
- the number of people waiting over 8 weeks for diagnostics was 1% lower on a like-for-like position than March 2018, despite the addition of a suite of new cardiology tests, and
- the number of people waiting over 14 weeks for therapy services was 98% lower than March 2018 and the best position ever reported.
This shows that the targeted investment has worked. In 2018-19, improvements were seen in 6 of the 7 health boards, with 3 health boards reporting no one waiting over 36 weeks at the end of March and 2 other health boards reporting a position better than their profile.
I am announcing today a further £50 million for 2019-20 for health boards to build on the improvements made over the last 3 years and to make further reductions by the end of March 2020.
£2 million of the funding will be used for the development of the Quality and Delivery Framework for Emergency Departments, the extension of the Emergency Department Well-being and Home Safe pilot provided through the Red Cross that ran in winter 2018-19 and the extension of the Hospital to Healthier Home delivered by Care and Repair. A further £3.5 million has been earmarked for health boards to improve follow-up backlog delays, through working with the Planned Care Programme team, as described in the recent Public Accounts Committee.
The remainder of the funding is to be used to reduce the number of long waiting patients and for health boards to further develop sustainable solutions.
Health boards will need to meet the targets they set out in order to receive the full funding. I expect to see further improvements on waiting times as we have seen in the past 3 years.