NHS waiting time 'wheel of fortune'

The number of people waiting over 36 weeks for treatment has risen in a number of different specialities within two health boards since last September.


Cardiff and Vale has seen increases in seven specialities in all, while Cwm Taf has seen a rise in long delays for patients in three.


The figures contrast with trauma and orthopaedic treatment. This speciality has seen a slight drop in people waiting over 36 weeks following a ministerial commitment to ‘all but eliminate’ the problem by March 2012. Despite this, 2,378 people in Wales fell outside the government’s ultimate target at the end of February.


While additional money announced in March 2011 has been directed at this area, Cardiff and Vale Health Board has seen the number of people waiting over 36 weeks rise in:



  • Ear, Nose and Throat – 164 (February) 45 (September)
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery – 23 (February) 12 (September)
  • General Surgery – 162 (February) 124 (September)
  • Neurosurgery – 122 (February) 110 (September)
  • Opthamology – 85 (February) 16 (September)
  • Oral Surgery – 61 (February) 25 (September)
  • Urology – 117 (February) 83 (September)



Cwm Taf Health Board has seen the number of people waiting over 36 weeks rise in:


  • General Surgery – 521 (February) 318 (September)
  • Urology – 119 (February) 52 (September)
  • Ear, Nose and Throat 47 (February) 21 (September)



Shadow Minister for Health, Darren Millar AM, said:


“We cannot allow increased efforts in one speciality to tip the balance in others. NHS delays are already a wheel of fortune in Wales and letting this happen would simply result in a different game of chance.


“Orthopaedic delays have long been at the core of waiting list problems across Wales. They remain unacceptably high but I welcome the slight drop we saw in February.


“However, while that has happened in these two health boards in particular, other areas have suffered. That’s unfair and the Welsh Labour Government needs to look carefully at these failings and find a solution that improves the whole picture, not just part of it.


“Labour’s record-breaking cuts to the Welsh health budget are heaping ever more pressure on hard-working frontline staff. It’s time our NHS was given the priority it deserves.”