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RCEM Wales responds to highest monthly Emergency Department attendance for almost two years

22nd June 2023

Responding to May 2023’s Emergency Department performance figures for Wales, released today – Thursday 22 June 2023 – Dr Suresh Pillai, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Wales, said: “May was a very busy month for Welsh Emergency Departments (EDs). Attendances were up 11% on the previous month – and more than 5% higher than last May – with patient numbers the highest they have been for almost two years.

“The fact that the other performance measures have remained relatively stable is testament to the hard work and dedication of our members and Emergency Medicine staff in Wales.

“EDs are experiencing increasingly high demand – especially as temperatures rise. And there are clear indicators of a system struggling to cope, with one in five patients in Wales continuing to wait more than eight hours in A&E, and the number of beds available still extremely low.

“We urge the Welsh Government to adopt the five priorities of our #ResuscitateEmergencyCare campaign to ensure there are enough beds, staff and resources to ensure patients receive the best care possible.”

• Visualisations for the data here.

Wales Performance Data Summary for May 2023

  • There were 70,310 attendances to major EDs, 11% more than the previous month (63,272) and 5.2% more than in May 2022 (66,850).
  • Overall, 62% of patients in major EDs were admitted, transferred, or discharged within 4 hours from arrival.
  • 20.9% of major ED attendances waited more than 8 hours (14,719 patients)
    • This means that more than 1 in 5 patients were delayed 8 hours or more at a major emergency department.
  • 12.6% of major ED attendances waited more than 12 hours (8,874 patients).
    • This means more than 1 in 8 patients were delayed by 12-hours or more.


  • There was a daily average of 6454 general and acute beds in service, 19 less than the previous month.
    • Average monthly bed occupancy was 95.02%. 10% Above to recommended safe level of 85%.
  • When we compare May 2022 with May 2023, there has been an average increase of 0.1% in general and acute beds in service. By comparison there has been a 2.5% increase in general and acute beds occupied.
    • This demonstrates that the number of beds in service is not keeping up with patient needs.
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