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Health board reports ‘significant reduction’ in waiting times

26 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Royal Glamorgan Hospital. (© Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-2.0)

Anthony Lewis Local Democracy Reporter

The number of patients waiting over two years for elective treatment in Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT), Merthyr Tydfil and Bridgend has fallen from 14,000 last year to 2,000 this year.

Gethin Hughes, chief operating officer for the health board, told a meeting of Rhondda Cynon Taf full council on Wednesday, April 24 that time last year they had around 14,000 patients waiting over two years for treatment.

He said this was clearly an “unacceptable” position but that clinical teams had worked exceptionally hard, have moved services around and maximised the use of their existing estate as much as they can.

Mr Hughes said he’s pleased to say that the 14,000 cohort is now down to just over 2,000 patients.

He called it a “significant reduction”, adding “it’s not where we want it to be and the focus for this year is to get that waiting time down further.”

Mr Hughes said it was a significant improvement for patients.

“Good strides”

He said that this last time last year they had around 9,500 patients waiting over eight weeks for an ultrasound scan but as of today that’s down to 200, and all of those patients have dates to be treated within May.

He said: “We’re making good strides. We need absolutely to get those patients seen, treated in a far shorter window”, adding that that’s why things like the Llantrisant Health Park are really important.

Mr Hughes said the minister set a target of 99% of people waiting under two years and Cwm Taf Morgannwg achieved around 97.6% which he said is slightly shy of the target but a big improvement on where they were.

He said they’ve got some very specific work going on with some specialities with very high volumes of referrals for things like ear, nose and throat, ophthalmology and urology and are working with GPs to see if they can manage those pathways in a different way.

He also mentioned that they’ve opened a new theatre for patients having breast surgery on the Royal Glamorgan Hospital site.

Mr Hughes said they’ve seen improvements in cancer performance as this time last year they had a large number of patients waiting over 104 days for cancer diagnosis. This has been reduced by over half now, with the performance against the 62-day standard improving in March to 56.7% – the highest it’s been since April 2021.

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