Confidence in Health Secretary drains as he admits orthopaedic wait targets “plainly unachievable”

Targets to reduce orthopaedic waiting times at Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board are “plainly unachievable” according to the Health Secretary.

The shocking admission comes following a Written Assembly Question by Aberconwy AM, Janet Finch-Saunders.

Responding to a Written Assembly Question by Mrs Finch-Saunders, the Health Secretary – Vaughan Gething – said:

“This milestone is not achievable for orthopaedics within the timeline due to the transformational and service re-design work needed to develop a sustainable service. I am therefore not going to set an improvement target that is plainly unachievable.”

The admission comes despite the beleaguered Health Board having been in Special Measures since July 2015.

Welsh Conservatives have expressed anger and concern at the failure to make progress on reducing orthopaedic waiting times – even by September 2019.

Mrs Finch-Saunders said:

“Waiting times for orthopaedic treatments have been a huge concern over the past few years, where we have seen patients waiting over 130 weeks for hip or knee operations.

“With that in mind, and with the health board having been in special measures for nearly three years, it is deeply worrying that the Health Secretary doesn’t believe that sufficient progress can be made.

“It’s remarkable to see the confidence draining from a Minister who has seemingly thrown everything at the health board – and made no discernible impression.

“The people of North Wales deserve better and have been let down by a crisis of management of the Welsh NHS, and it is time for the Health Secretary to do the honourable thing and reflect on his position.”