NHS waiting times: Open Letter to First Minister calls for urgent guarantees

The Shadow Minister for Health has written to Carwyn Jones calling for urgent guarantees on NHS waiting times, as new figures show another big hike in long delays.

 

Over 13 thousand 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.

 

It follows repeated calls from the Welsh Conservatives – the only Party that has consistently campaigned for additional NHS funding.

 

In an open letter to the First Minister, Shadow Minister for Health Darren 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.

 

While Wales remains the only part of the UK where the NHS is not protected in line with inflation, Welsh Conservatives acknowledge the additional funding for the NHS announced in this week’s Draft Budget. I am pleased that our consistent calls have finally been heeded.

 

This money should be spent wisely and targeted at those areas most in need. It should lead to clear improvements in outcomes and the reduction of unacceptably long waiting times.