The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has said that the Welsh Government ‘have let patients down’ by failing to publish a winter plan, as data show one in seven patients faced a 12-hour delay in A&Es in Wales in December.
The Emergency Department performance statistics for December 2023, published today (18 January) by the Welsh government show:
Dr Rob Perry, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Wales, commented:
“These data are extremely worrying, now as temperatures continue to drop and with the additional toll of winter viruses on A&E departments, the situation is likely to worsen.
“Staff working in Emergency Medicine are doing the best they can to provide quality care, but they are operating in extremely challenging conditions. The emotional toll of working in overcrowded A&Es, while trying to prioritise patient care with limited resources, cannot be underestimated.
“It is hugely distressing for our members to care for and witness patients, particularly the elderly and most vulnerable, face extended wait times. It is no wonder our workforce is burnt-out and demoralised.
“The Welsh government did not answer our calls to put a winter plan in place to protect patients and support staff during these colder months, which bring their predictable challenges. In failing to do so they have let patients down this winter and failed to provide the urgent resources and support that A&E staff desperately need to mitigate any potential harm that delays bring.
“We need to #ResuscitateEmergencyCare, it’s what our members and their patients deserve. The government must now listen to our calls to adopt our priorities and begin to tackle the deep-rooted issues facing emergency care.”
Dr Perry reiterates his call that everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated against flu and/or Covid-19 this winter to protect themselves and those around them.
Dr Perry said: “At this time of year, respiratory viruses such flu and Covid-19 put additional pressure on already stretched A&E departments by increasing staff absences and the likelihood of ward closures. They also put our most vulnerable patients at risk of hospital acquired infection. We encourage anyone who is eligible, to get vaccinated and protect themselves this winter.”
RCEM Wales continues to call on the Welsh government to publish fully transparent and meaningful data – and to either routinely publish the data before the ‘breach exemptions’ are applied monthly or remove the policy of ‘breach exemptions’ altogether.
You can see more data, visualisations and graphs on our website here: www.rcem.ac.uk/data-statistics/