Health chiefs vow to tackle treatment time targets for patients after a tough couple of months
HEALTH bosses have stressed they are keen to get on top of the time it takes for patients to be referred for treatment after a challenging couple of months.
Figures for Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board show that, although it had been a struggle to achieve the targets, chiefs said they were doing better than other organisations.
Latest findings for the end of July show in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend, there were 86 patients waiting more than 52 weeks, with a further 993 patients waiting more than 36 weeks.
A report, which went before the board at its Baglan Energy Park headquarters, showed 92.5 per cent patients were seen against the 95 per cent 26 week target and there were 500 patients waiting more than 26 weeks for their first outpatient attendance.
Alex Howells, deputy chief executive of ABMU Health Board, during its meeting, said: "The referral to treatment target (RTT) is the July position stated.
"It was something the health board was more successful against than other health boards but didn't achieve the targets.
"We had not quite achieved the improvement but we maintained our position.
"We are keen to keep on top of the issue.
"We are going through and validating where we are with that target."
The report presented by Mrs Howells said: "The health board has a trajectory to deliver no patients waiting over 36 weeks by the end of March 2014 and focus must continue to the end of the year to achieve this.
"Discussions are ongoing with WHSSC around the plan for cardiac surgery delivery in 2013/14 and at the time of writing no final plan is in place.
"However, a significant amount of modelling to improve cardiac surgery waiting times is being carried out jointly with Cardiff and Vale Health Board to enable WHSSC (Welsh Health Specialised Services) to develop a waiting times improvement plan in partnership with health boards."
In June, ABMU Health Board was one of the best performing in Wales against the target.
The report added: "The most recent nationally available published figures for RTT are the end of June 2013 figures.
"At this point of reference ABMU remained the best performing Health Board in Wales in respect of RTT access times with the exception of Powys Teaching Health Board and Hywel Dda Health Board.
"ABMU was the only health board in Wales to reduce its numbers of patients waiting over 36 weeks in the month of July with all other health boards increasing their breach numbers."
The health board has drawn up an action plan as part of its drive to improve waiting time figures in the future in a range of specialities.
"RTT performance improvement is being managed through the implementation of these plans," the report added.
"Performance is managed trough the monthly performance review meetings with directorates and localities."
The health board said achieving the targets was linked to plans to increase bed capacity.
A move towards 85 per cent bed occupancy level for medical beds is also being put forward.