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PRESS STATEMENT – 23 June 2022

RCEM Wales: Worst May on record in Emergency Care cannot be met with inaction

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

  • In May 2022, there were 66,850 attendances at major A&E services in Wales, around 4% below the monthly average for May. This would suggest that attendances are almost back to pre-pandemic levels. Despite this, bed occupancy for May 2022 stood at 92.3%, the second highest bed occupancy since the start of the pandemic.
  • 3% of attendances at major A&E services were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within four hours, representing the worst four-hour performance for the month of May on record.
  • During May 2022, 16,480 patients spent more than eight hours in major A&E departments, this is the second highest number of long waits on record and is equal to 1 in every 4 attendances.
  • 10,147 patients spent more than 12 hours in a major A&E department, almost double the number of 12-hour waits compared to May 2021.

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

“These figures are appalling, demoralising and distressing. Worst ever four-hour performance for the month of May. High levels of bed occupancy. Double the number of patients waiting over 12 hours this time last year.

“It is appalling for the health service, it’s demoralising for exhausted staff who are giving their all, and it’s distressing for patients. This is what collapsing service looks like.

“One in four patients are waiting over 8 hours. These aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet – these are real people, whose lives are being put at risk by waiting so long.

“These figures cannot be met with inaction, and we are eager to work with the Health Minister to find short-term ways to remedy the situation. But long-term we must find ways to recruit more staff – we are short of at least 100 Emergency Medicine consultants in Wales – along with more beds and better social care. Short-term efforts to boost capacity will only go so far, and we cannot shy away from addressing these long-term problems with long term solutions.”



For further information, or to speak with a spokesperson for The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (between 9am and 5pm), please contact James Beedle or on 0207 067 4814.

For out of hours enquiries, please contact James Beedle at or on 07791 288 743.

About the Royal College of Emergency Medicine

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is the single authoritative body for Emergency Medicine in the UK. Emergency Medicine is the medical specialty which provides doctors and consultants to A&E departments in the NHS in the UK and other healthcare systems across the world.

The Royal College works to ensure high quality care by setting and monitoring standards of care and providing expert guidance and advice on policy to relevant bodies on matters relating to Emergency Medicine.

The Royal College has over 10,000 fellows and members, who are doctors and consultants in Emergency Departments working in the health services in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and across the world.

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