What action is the Welsh Government taking to streamline the emergency care system, in light of recent figures showing that 1 in 5 patients are waiting over 8 hours to be seen at major accident and emergency departments in Wales?
In April 2022, I published the Six Goals for Urgent and Emergency Care policy handbook which sets out the Welsh Government’s vision and commitment to the improvement of urgent and emergency care.
I also commissioned a national improvement programme to enable Health Boards and partners to deliver on the aspirations in the policy handbook.
In year one of the programme, real progress has been made in helping to manage more people with urgent care in the community and to support people to safely avoid admission to hospital.
This includes through:
- establishing new pathways via NHS 111 Wales, including mental health ‘press 2’ which is helping 8 in 10 users avoid the need to access urgent or emergency care;
- the extension of Same Day Emergency Care services across all hospitals in Wales with around 4500 patients avoiding admission each month;
- improving management of 999 patients on the phone, enabling 15% of callers to avoid an ambulance journey to hospital; and
- supporting around 10,000 people a month to access care in urgent primary care centres.
The programme plan for 2023/2024 includes specific focus on 24/7 delivery of services, supporting Health Boards to improve performance in the out of hours and overnight periods.