North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood is concerned that the number of people waiting over 36 weeks for their first hospital appointment in North Wales increased by 66% between the end of April and the end of June, double the 33% all-Wales increase.
The latest Official figure for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has jumped from 1,401 at the end of April to 2,327 at the end of June. The figure across Wales increased from 7,611 to 10,123.
Mr Isherwood said: “ A Welsh Government target recommends no-one should wait longer than 36 weeks when referred to hospital by their GP so it is deeply concerning to see that the target has once again been missed and particularly worrying that the increase has been so vast in North Wales – the people of North Wales deserve better.”
The total number of people on an NHS waiting list in Wales is now 80 per cent higher than it was when Carwyn Jones became First Minister at the end of 2009. At that point, 227,000 patients were waiting for treatment. At the end of June that figure stood at 410,000.
The Health Minister recently announced a review into NHS funding – and later admitted this would amount to a summer ‘interrogation’ of the budget with the Finance Minister.
Welsh Conservative Assembly Members have consistently called for the health budget to be protected in line with inflation – as it is in England. The Welsh Conservatives represent the only party to stand for significant additional investment in the NHS – a policy that has stood since before the last Assembly election.
Mr Isherwood added: “These waits not only lay bare the true scale of the cash crisis in the Welsh NHS, but also reinforce the HIW and Wales Audit Office concerns about Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s governance arrangements and organisational structure. The Welsh Government has dealt Welsh patients an unfair deal. The Minister’s review into funding must come up with more cash to eliminate target busting waiting times and this Labour Welsh Government should stop dodging calls for an independent inquiry into the Welsh National Health Service comparable to that already conducted into NHS Trusts in England."