Welsh NHS patients still condemned to longer waits than in England

Waiting times in the Welsh NHS continue to lag behind the health service in England in most key categories for treatment and diagnosis – according to the latest statistics.


The figures – which are directly comparable – show that the biggest gap between the Welsh NHS and NHS England is still for hip operations.


The average wait for a hip operation in Wales during 2016-17 was 215 days, while in England it was just 82 days.


Meanwhile, waiting times for heart bypass procedures almost doubled in 2016-17: from 43 days to 79 days – compared to 51 days in England.


Overall, there were longer waits for Welsh patients in eight out of the 11 main indicators in Wales, six significantly so, compared to the same measures in England.


[See notes to Editors for full list of waits by classification]


Welsh Conservatives have called for an “unashamedly target driven” strategy to reduce waiting times.


Shadow Health Minister, Angela Burns said:


“For too long, Labour Ministers have sought to play down the importance of waiting times, but it is a fact that longer waits lead to poorer outcomes – whilst also increasing the risk of complications and broader health issues.


“The wait for hip operations is scandalous, and it is deeply concerning that waiting times for a heart bypass procedure have almost doubled since last year.


“On too many indicators the Welsh NHS is lagging behind, despite the very best efforts of frontline staff.


“We need an innovative and unashamedly target driven strategy to reducing waiting times – but there needs to be the will at Welsh Government level to accept that there is a serious crisis of management at the heart of the Welsh NHS.”


Notes to Editors:


See below, figures for 2016-17. (In brackets for reference, 2015-16)



Cataract — Wales 108 England 57

Upper digestive tract — Wales 31 England 20

Heart bypass — Wales 79 England 51

Other heart ops — Wales 46 England 42

Hip replacements — Wales 215 England 82

Kidney transplant — Wales 17 England 20



Cancer — Wales 20 England 20

Heart disease — Wales 56 England 38

Pneumonia — Wales 60 England 55

Hernia — Wales 114 England 45

Head injuries — Wales 4 England 5


Source: Patient Episode Database for Wales/ Hospital Episode Statistics

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