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Tackling the Planned Care Backlog in Wales

A commentary by the Auditor General for Wales

Our report sets out the findings from our high-level review of how NHS Wales is tackling the backlog of patients waiting for planned care.

The waiting times backlog is one of the biggest challenges facing NHS Wales, which has been made much worse due to COVID-19 and the impact its had on NHS capacity. In February 2022, there were nearly 700,000 patients waiting for planned care, a 50% increase since February 2020.

What we found

We found that NHS Wales needs to take concerted action in order to tackle the waiting times for planned care and that more needs to be done to avoid patients coming to harm whilst waiting for treatment.

In our report, we find that although the additional Welsh Government funding is going to be essential to tackle the backlog, on its own, will not solve the problem. NHS Wales will also need to overcome some serious barriers, such as long-standing staff shortages and recruitment issues.

Our report also sets out 5 recommendations based on what the Welsh Government needs to do as it implements it national plan, aimed at transforming and modernising planned care.

We’ve also published a waiting times data tool alongside our report which looks at the different waiting times for different health boards.

The data we are using refers to patient pathways and an individual patient may have more than one health condition and therefore be on multiple pathways. This means that the actual number of individuals waiting is likely to be lower.

Related News

Concerted action is needed by NHS Wales to tackle the waiting times backlog for planned care

Data Analytics Tools

  • doctor and patient
    Elective NHS waiting times
    This data tool looks at the different waiting times for different health boards
    Tool Published

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