Figures released today (January 21) show that some 530,371 patients were – by the end of November 2020 – waiting to start treatment are the worst on record, and up 67,113 (14.5 percent) on November 2019.
The situation has been described by Shadow Health Minister Andrew RT Davies MS as “devastating”.
Mr Davies said: “Regrettably, waiting list targets were being missed before the pandemic started with the Welsh Labour-led Government consistently letting down patients.
“Coronavirus has now led to us having the worst waiting times on record, but the pandemic has only shone a spotlight on how bad things were before, and these devastating figures demonstrate that we now urgently need a waiting time recovery plan from Labour ministers.
“The health minister, Vaughan Gething, has previously dismissed calls to have such as a plan as ‘foolish’ but these are people’s lives and behind every statistic is an individual in pain.
“With vaccines now being rolled out across the country, we have to get a plan in place to tackle this huge backlog and ensure patients aren’t left waiting in unnecessary agony or anxiety.”
The number of patients waiting to start treatment by the end of November 2020 was 530,371, 0.8% higher (4,314 more patient pathways waiting) than in October 2020 and 14.5% higher (67,113 more patient pathways waiting) than in November 2019. This is the highest on record since data was collected in 2011.
The number of patient pathways closed during November 2020 was 55,705, a decrease of 105 (0.2%) from October 2020 and a decrease of 29,716 (34.8%) compared with November 2019.
Of the 530,371 patient pathways waiting to start treatment by the end of November 2020, 51.4% (272,751 patient pathways) had been waiting less than 26 weeks. The percentage of patient pathways waiting less than 26 weeks increased by three percentage points compared to October 2020 but was 33.3 percentage points lower than November 2019.
231,722 patient pathways (43.7% of all patient pathways waiting to start treatment) had been waiting more than 36 weeks from the date the referral letter was received by the hospital. This is the highest number since the current data collection began in October 2011.