NHS waiting lists in Wales have risen to more than 750,000 cases for the first time.

Around 589,000 individual patients are currently waiting for treatment, while the percentage of ambulances reaching life-threatening callouts within the eight-minute target time is now at its joint-lowest level on record, according to the latest NHS Wales performance data.

In response, the Welsh Government acknowledged the figures were not where it, the NHS, or the public wanted them to be, and called on health boards to reduce ambulance delays through patient handovers.

In August, more than 750,000 cases - referred to as 'patient pathways' - were waiting to start treatment, the highest number on record. The actual numbrt of patients waiting is lower as some people will be waiting for multiple treatments.

County Times:

The figures for August show more than 183,000 cases were waiting more than one year, which is the highest figure on record. More than 59,000 cases have been waiting more than two years, though this fell for the fifth consecutive month.

In September, the ambulance service received an average of 1,161 emergency calls per day, with 10.2 per cent of these being immediately life-threatening (red calls) – an increase on August (9.6 per cent).

Fifty per cent of red calls saw an ambulance arrive within the target time of eight minutes, its lowest level on record and some way short of the ambulance service’s 65 per cent target.

County Times:

Last month, more than 86,000 patients attended A&E departments – an average of 2,876 per day. Under NHS Wales targets, 95 per cent of emergency patients should be treated within four hours, while no patient should be waiting more than 12 hours.

In September, 67.8 per cent of patients spent less than four hours in A&E (up 0.7 per cent on August), with the median wait lasting two hours and 49 minutes. However, 10,230 patients ended up waiting 12 hours or more in A&E, although this was 466 fewer than in the previous month.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Progress continues to be made on the longest waits and we have seen a reduction in the number of patient pathways waiting more than two years for treatment for the fifth month in a row. This is a fall of 16 per cent since the peak in March.

“Thousands of people are still being seen and treated by NHS Wales and there were more than 338,000 consultations carried out in August. We will continue to work with health boards on how we can best support them to meet our planned care targets. 

“Urgent and emergency care staff remain under intense pressure, and we are working with health and social care service leaders to support improvements.

“We acknowledge ambulance performance is not where we, NHS Wales nor the public expect it to be and we are driving a whole system response to support improvement.

“We expect health boards to take ownership and immediately reduce ambulance patient handover delays while working with social care services to improve timeliness of patient transfers home from hospital.”