Waiting times demand
THE Shadow Minister for Health Darren Millar has written to First Minister Carwyn Jones calling for urgent guarantees on NHS waiting times, as new figures show another big hike in long delays. More than 13,000 people had been waiting more than 36 weeks for their first hospital appointment at the end of August; up more than two thousand on July. The government's own target is that no-one wait that long.
In all, 418,522 people are now on an NHS waiting list.
Wales remains the only part of the UK where the NHS budget is not protected in line with inflation.
This week the Labour government announced additional investment in the health service, following three years of real terms cuts. In an open letter to the First Minister, Mr Millar writes: "I write seeking urgent assurances that an escalating crisis in long NHS delays will be dealt with — by you personally — as a matter of the utmost urgency.
"You will by now be aware that the number of people waiting more than 36 weeks for their first hospital appointment has risen yet again. The figure for August stands at more than 13,000, a significant figure that I hope you will acknowledge as extremely worrying. I hope you will agree that patients across Wales — particularly the elderly and vulnerable — should not be faced with such long waits. This is a crisis that needs immediate priority."