NHS Confederation - We must be realistic about how quickly services will be able to bounce back

20 Jan 2022 10:17 AM

Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, responds to the latest NHS activity and performance statistics in Wales.

Responding to the latest NHS activity and performance statistics, Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said:

“The statistics show the extreme levels of demand on the NHS and the impact Covid is having on our ability to treat those in need. December saw the seventh consecutive month where over 100 immediately life-threatening calls were made to the ambulance service each day.

“Although these figures paint a very serious picture, including the considerable number of patients waiting to start scheduled care, there are small positives to be seen – for example, the number of patients completing their treatment was the highest since the start of the pandemic.

“However, it’s important to remember this data reflects the situation before the Omicron variant took hold and staff sickness absences rocketed across the NHS and social care. We must therefore be realistic about what subsequent reports will show and how quickly services will be able to bounce back now Covid-related admissions are showing tentative signs of declining.

“While NHS leaders are doing everything they can, the elective care waiting list continues to grow and we need to be honest with the public that this can’t be cleared overnight.

“We also need to be mindful of what these figures don’t show. Primary, community and social care services play a vital role in keeping people well and out of hospital and they are feeling the pressure caused by Omicron. They too are experiencing high levels of staff absences and more patients needing care, as well as helping drive the booster programme.

“Behind these statistics are both patients and staff. More is being done to care for those on waiting lists and exhausted staff are doing everything they can to treat as many people as quickly and safely as possible. We can’t thank them enough.”