WQ86363 (e) Tabled on 19/10/2022

What is the Welsh Government doing to improve emergency department waits in South Wales Central?

Answered by Minister for Health and Social Services | Answered on 28/10/2022

On 8 July, I issued a Written Statement outlining progress against delivery of the Six Goals for Urgent and Emergency Care Programme, including the development of a refreshed and enhanced national ambulance improvement plan.

The ambulance improvement plan focuses on:

  • ambulance workforce efficiencies to unlock ambulance capacity through implementation of new staff rosters to align capacity to demand with an equivalent efficiency of 72 WTE, a 40-point plan to reduce sickness absence and engagement with unions on delivering prudent workforce practices;
  • an additional 100 frontline ambulance staff to be operationalised by 23 January 2023, following Welsh Government investment of £3m to increase ambulance capacity;
  • joint improvement activities to support better management of 999 patients in the community or through alternative pathways to Emergency Departments and improve ambulance patient handover; and
  • Health Board actions to improve patient flow through hospital systems.

In terms of Emergency Departments specifically, we have directed Health Boards to produce ambulance patient handover performance improvement plans and trajectories to enable safer and more timely transfer of patients into departments.

We have also allocated £2.96m to both Health Boards in the South Wales Central area to support delivery of local urgent and emergency care programme plans which must include a focus on Urgent Primary Care Centres and Same Day Emergency Care services. Both services act as alternatives to presentation at Emergency Departments or admission to hospital and are intended to support care closer to home and reduction in pressure on departments.

Further, I recognise it is important that people who access our Emergency Departments have a good experience. I have made an additional £2m capital funding available for environmental improvements this winter.

Cardiff and the Vale UHB and Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB have provided my officials with a list of investment areas which will improve the patient and staff environments including options to upgrade or improve seating arrangements, access to information and personal hygiene facilities. Scrutiny of the bids (which were received on the 14 October) has been prioritised and I will be confirming funding allocation over the coming days.