Welsh govt blasted over ‘catastrophic’ record NHS waiting lists as Covid pandemic exacerbates delays to hospital treatment

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The NHS in Wales has reported record long waiting lists for non-urgent treatment, as the number of people who have had their medical care delayed reached almost 625,000 in June, the latest month for which data is available.

The growing waiting list came as A&E departments and the ambulance service in Wales recorded their busiest period since the Covid pandemic began, further delaying appointments for those awaiting non-urgent treatment.

June saw the number on the list grow to 624,909, marking a 41% rise since the start of the pandemic, with 233,210 people waiting more than nine months for treatment. Similarly, waiting times within the country’s A&E department were the worst ever recorded, with 30.2% of patients not being seen within four hours.

Addressing the situation, the opposition Conservative Party’s health spokesperson, Russell George, criticised the Welsh government, calling the situation “catastrophic.”

“To record the worst ever A&E waiting times and the longest NHS treatment waiting list in the same month shows a complete lack of leadership,” George said in a statement.

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While a spokesperson for the government conceded that “waiting times for treatment continue to grow,” they expressed optimism that the number of people waiting more than 52 weeks has fallen “for the third month in a row.”

The latest figures come as £551 million ($753.29 million) in extra funding was handed to the Welsh NHS to help alleviate the pressure caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The money is set to be spent on the country’s vaccination programme, Covid testing, PPE, and cleaning to prevent the spread of the virus, according to Health Minister Eluned Morgan.

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