Life threatening calls to the ambulance service and the numbers of people attending emergency departments have increased, according to the latest NHS Wales monthly performance statistics.

This shows that demand coming through the ‘front door’ is relentless, according to the NHS Confederation.

Yet it said there was grounds for cautious optimism as although waiting lists continue to grow and remained high at 707,000, the rate of growth is slowing month on month. 

Welsh NHS Confederation, director Darren Hughes said that despite high level of life threatening (red) calls to the ambulance service, performance against ED waiting targets and the average time spent in EDs, has improved slightly.

This illustrates that staff across the health and care system continue to work exceptionally hard to innovate and deliver care in the face of continuing pressures.

NHS staff cannot work miracles

He added: “However, in order to make real strides in planned care waiting times, including in diagnostics and therapies, we need to address the capacity gap across financial resilience, capital investment and workforce. The NHS is full of committed staff and leaders, but they cannot work miracles and are doing all they can with the resources they have, continuing to support current staff and attract new.

“What we don’t see in these statistics are the huge pressures across the whole system, on GPs, pharmacies, and other community services, as well as the number of patients unable to be discharged from hospital because of the ongoing pressures facing social care. Without long-term, sustainable investment in the social care sector, there is only so far the NHS can go in improving patient flow through hospitals and providing timely care."