20 April 2023
Responding to the latest Emergency Department performance figures for March 2023 for Wales, Dr Suresh Pillai, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Wales, said:
“The data are stark. Patients continue to face long-waits. Hardworking staff are doing their best to mitigate the harm to patients that we know is associated with these delays to care. Recently in England, 12-hour data measured from the time of arrival was made publicly available in a step towards more transparent and meaningful metrics that better reflects the patient’s journey and show the true scale of long waits. In Wales, many patients are still hidden from the data, masked by clinical and operational exclusions, classified as breach exemptions.
“The Health Minister and the Welsh Government must follow the example of NHS England to ensure data are meaningful and transparent and no patient is excluded. We can only tackle the crisis at its root and eliminate the delays to care and overcrowding when we can see the full picture with no exceptions.
“The delays and dilution to care are driven by high bed occupancy, a low bed base, and an inability to discharge patients in a timely way due to unresponsive social care. We cannot admit patients from Emergency Departments to a bed – causing delays, overcrowding and poor flow through our hospitals. We must see faster action and improvements around social care, including bolstering the social care workforce to ensure patients can be supported when being admitted to or discharged from hospitals.
“We remain supportive of the Health Minister’s six-goal programme, but we need to see quicker, more urgent and tangible action to tackle the crisis. In Wales, there is a severe retention and recruitment crisis in Emergency Medicine. We must do all we can to retain existing staff and keep them delivering for patients, while simultaneously recruiting staff into Emergency Medicine. A failure to either recruit or retain staff is a failure to our patients. It is essential that workforce is a priority of this government.”
Notes to editor
The latest Emergency Department performance figures for March 2023 published by the Welsh government show:
RCEM Wales: Emergency Medicine Workforce Census 2023