Local health board's £4m injection to cut waiting times

By Jake Chown  
Wednesday 3rd July 2019 9:29 am
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Abergavenny’s local health board is being handed a substantial £4 million to cut waiting times for non-emergency operations.

The Welsh Government has announced £50 million is being handed out to Wales’ seven health boards to help cut the amount of time patients have to wait for elective operations.

The most recent figures showed 266 patients had been waiting for non-emergency treatment longer than 36 weeks in figures released in April, representing a significant jump from the previous month, where it was 110—the lowest for six and a half years.

The figures significant improvement since April 2015, when there were 2,777 patients on the list.

The Welsh Government’s health and social services secretary Vaughan Gething said, “Over the last three years we have invested £150 million to significantly cut waiting times for patients waiting beyond our target.

“As of March this year, three health boards reported no one waiting over 36 weeks and overall we’ve seen the best position in some areas for six years.

“But I want to see more improvement in all areas, and the £50 million I am announcing today will support health boards to deliver further reduction in waiting times.

“The money will also help with the introduction of sustainable services, alongside our plan for health and social care, A Healthier Wales backed by £100 million which will deliver the long term changes needed to transform services.

“Health boards will need to meet the targets they set out in order to receive the full funding. I expect to see significant improvements on waiting times as we have in the last three years.”

As of the end of March this year, the number of patients in Wales waiting longer than 26 weeks for treatment was lower than any time before July 2013, and the number waiting more than 36 weeks is lower than it has been since May 2013.

The windfall is being divided amongst hospitals across Wales in an effort to slash waiting times.

Bosses will lavish Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board with a further £13.6 million, whilst Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board will get £7 million.

Swansea Bay University Health Board will £6.5 million to help drive down waiting times for non-emergencies, whilst the capital’s Cardiff and Vale University Health Board will get a further £6.1 million.

Hywel Dda University Health Board will also receive a £5.8-million boost, just a touch above Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s injection of £4 million.

The cash boosts will also be backed with a further strengthening of Powys Teaching Health Board with an injection of £1.5 million, meaning a substantial investment.

Last year, a report covering the financial health of the local health board said it was not ‘immune from staffing issues.’ Expenditure for nursing, bank and agency staff had increased in February, 2018, which was described as ‘significant’. Agency and locum spending totalled £36.6m in the first 11 months of 2017/18, up from £32.9m.

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said, “We have already been working hard to reduce waiting times for our patients and we recently reported our best 26-week referral to treatment performance since 2013 and our best 36-week planned treatment performance since April 2010.

“We are delighted to receive this investment from Welsh Government which will help us to continue reducing waiting times for patients in Gwent.”

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