RCEM Wales Vice President: “Inadequate social care resources affect the entire Health and Social Care service”

Emergency care statistics released today by the Welsh Government reveal the worst ever performance in Emergency Departments since records began. Data for December 2019 show that only 66.4% of patients were seen within the four-hour target in major departments. This is a decrease of 6.6 percentage points since December 2018. This month’s data represents the worst ever performance figures since records began. 

In December 2019, 6,608 patients waited 12 hours or more in Emergency Departments. This represents an increase of 70.1% since December 2018. 

Dr Jo Mower, Vice President of RCEM Wales said: “Although Hywel Dda was featured prominently in the news this Christmas, we need to be aware of other health boards cancelling operations. This is a direct consequence of the pressures faced by the Urgent and Emergency Care system.”

“Last month we witnessed record low levels of performance, both in terms of the four-hour target and the number of long waits. This should as no surprise, we have experienced year-round low performance across Emergency Departments in Wales. This is despite our Emergency Medicine staff working tirelessly to provide excellent patient care in the face of reduced capacity in Emergency Departments.”a “We need to assess ongoing health and social care needs both in hospitals and in the community.  Without adequate health and social care resources and the consequential effect upon the unscheduled care system this will inevitably results in Emergency Department crowding which has in turn resulted in an increase in patients waiting outside the Emergency Department.”

“We are grateful that the British Red Cross support was extended from last March when winter funding traditionally ends, this shows an awareness of the year-round pressures Emergency Departments now face. The British Red Cross play a valuable role in easing pressures for Emergency Medicine staff as well as patients.”