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Emergency Departments in Wales record worst performance and longest waiting times ever

21 April 2022

Responding to the latest Emergency Department performance figures for Wales, Dr Suresh Pillai, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Wales, said:

“This crisis is deeply distressing for patients and staff. Long waiting times in crowded Emergency Departments can lead to associated harm and even death. The health system is broken; patients in the community face long waits for ambulances; patients in ambulances face long waits to be handed over to the Emergency Department; patients in Emergency Departments face long waits for a bed; and vulnerable and elderly patients medically fit to be discharged remain in hospital for longer than necessary because social care support is scarce.

“We know that in Emergency Medicine in Wales we have a shortage of at least 100 consultants, as well as widespread shortages of junior doctors, trainees and nurses trained in Emergency Medicine. Added to severe bed shortages and a crisis in social care; these are all contributing to the dire situation in urgent and emergency care. In order to tackle the crisis, we must see meaningful action to recruit more staff, open more beds, and address the issues in social care.

“Staff are burnt out and distressed, morale is low, and patients are becoming increasingly worried about the situation. We cannot continue in these circumstances. If another month passes with further deteriorating performance and new record lows, more and more patients will come to harm. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with the Health Minister, Eluned Morgan, to discuss the deteriorating crisis in Urgent and Emergency Care and measures that we can take to tackle it.”


Notes to editor

The latest Emergency Department performance figures for March 2022 published by the Welsh government show:

  • There were 65,930 attendances at major Emergency Departments
  • Four-hour performance at major Emergency Departments was 55.2%
    • This is the worst four-hour performance on record
  • Almost half of all patients were delayed by four hours or more at a major Emergency Department, equal to nearly 30,000 patients
  • More than one in four patients were delayed by eight hours or more at a major Emergency Department, equal to nearly 17,000 patients
  • 12-hour performance was the worst on record with nearly 11,000 patients delayed by 12 hours or more at a major Emergency Department
    • One in six patients were delayed by 12 hours or more
  • Bed occupancy for general and acute beds stood at 82%, the highest occupancy rate since April 2020
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