8 October 2020
Emergency care statistics released today by the Welsh Government reveal the worst performance and largest number of long waits in Emergency Departments since the beginning of the pandemic.
Data for September 2020, and the first data to be released since the beginning of the pandemic, show that only 71.6% of patients were seen within the four-hour target in major departments. This is a decrease of 2.1 percentage points compared to August 2020. This represent the worst four-hour performance since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
In September 2020, 3,705 patients waited 12 hours or more in Emergency Departments. This is an increase of 27% when compared to August 2020, and seven times the amount of people who waited 12 hours or more when compared to the peak of the pandemic.
Dr Suresh Pillai, the incoming Vice President of RCEM Wales said: “The data released today shows a worrying trend of increasing long waits. Long waits have always been dangerous, but at a time where Covid is still endemic and we are having to care for patients alongside managing the virus, we simply cannot have crowded emergency departments.” “In September we witnessed the worst performance and long waits since the beginning of the pandemic. This is despite our Emergency Medicine staff working tirelessly to provide excellent patient care in the face of reduced capacity in Emergency Departments. As we move into the colder months, we can expect the additional winter pressures on our emergency departments and, simply put, performance will continue to decline unless resources and staff are directed to our departments.
“The new experimental measures announced today have the potential to tell us more about the patient journey through the Emergency Department. The new measures will allow us to focus on the quality and urgency of care given to patients in the Emergency Department. The next suite of experimental measures will allow us to focus on what patients are waiting for whilst awaiting hospital admission. However, we need to assess ongoing health and social care needs both in hospitals and in the community. “Without adequate health and social care resources and the consequential effect on the unscheduled care system, Emergency Department crowding is inevitable. This in turn has resulted in an increase in patients waiting outside the Emergency Department.”