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Urgent and Emergency Care crisis in Wales deepens as more patients face longer delays

24 March 2022

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

  • There were 56,101 attendances at major Emergency Departments
  • Four-hour performance at major Emergency Departments was 57.5%, the second worst on record
  • More than two in five patients were delayed by four hours or more at a major Emergency Department, equal to nearly 24,000 patients
  • More than one in four patients were delayed by eight hours or more at a major Emergency Department, equal to over 14,000 patients
  • 12-hour performance was the second worst on record with over 9,000 patients delayed by 12 hours or more in a major Emergency Department
  • Bed occupancy for general and acute beds stood at 91.5%

Responding to these figures, Dr Suresh Pillai, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Wales, said:

“The latest performance figures show the crisis facing the health system and urgent and emergency care in Wales. More and more patients are waiting for longer and longer periods of time – we know that long waiting times are associated with an increased risk of harm or even death, and there is no indication of improvement or respite for staff.

“The workforce is burned out, staff face moral injury, stress and distress every shift. Patients face long, uncomfortable waits in crowded Emergency Departments, while other patients wait in the community for long periods of time for an ambulance.

“We are also seeing a sharp return of covid in the community and among healthcare workers. The already burned out and depleted workforce faces further shortages due to covid related absences. Crowded Emergency Departments are a high-risk environment for covid infection, particularly among the most vulnerable patients.

“This crisis is unsustainable. Staff are doing all they can to keep patients safe and minimise harm, but it is an extremely challenging crisis to manage. Patients are suffering as a result. It is imperative that we see action to improve the situation.”

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