All seven health boards in Wales met their ambulance response times target in September, new figures show.
Across Wales, 79.5% of ambulances responding to red calls - the most severe - arrived within eight minutes - which is above the target of 65%, and up from 78.1% in August.
Performance ranged from 69.6% in Hywel Dda to 85.3% in Cardiff & Vale.
There were 37,549 emergency calls, an average of 1,252 per day, 0.5% up on the daily average for August 2016.
In the amber category - which are serious but not life-threatening - some calls resulted in a wait of over four hours.
Of more than 15,000 amber calls to the ambulance service last year, where the wait was over 1hour, 1,300 saw waits of more than four hours
This month's performance for our RED - immediately life threatening calls is the best we have achieved since our new model launched last October.
More importantly we have for the fourth month achieved this important target in every area of Wales.
We are preparing for winter and looking at how we can provide a better response to patients with less serious injuries and illnesses.
It’s extremely encouraging that nearly 80% of patients with immediately life threatening conditions or injuries received a response in eight minutes in September - this speed of response will make a positive difference to patient outcomes.
We are disappointed to note that some patients have waited longer periods than expected. We continue to work closely with NHS Wales to build on the huge strides made by ambulance services in Wales over the past two years.
Construction of a new neonatal intensive care unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd will begin next month, following £18m worth of Welsh Government investment.
Work has also started to recruit the team who will work at the centre, including neonatal consultants. The unit, which will care for very sick and premature babies, is expected to open in 2018.
The centre will provide the best possible standards of care and clinical outcomes for mothers and their babies across North Wales, centralising intensive care at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
This investment reflects expert advice from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health who recommended that the health board should plan to provide neonatal intensive care at one central site in the region.
New incentives are being offered to newly-qualified doctors to encourage them to stay in Wales.
A new campaign, which is offering graduates up to £20,000 a year, has been launched to promote Wales as a good place to work and live for doctors and GPs.
They're also being offered a one-off £2,000 to cover the cost of their final exams, but they will have to stay in Wales for at least a year after they've finished their training.
It's hoped the incentives will combat the shortage of doctors here.
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In the main section of the budget, covering £13.5 billion of the £15 billion total, spending will change as follows next year:
- Health £7.04 billion (+2.5%)
- Local Government £4.32 billion (-1.5%)
- Communities & Children £0.37 billion (+1.9%)
- Economy & Infrastructure £0.78 billion (+8.6%)
- Education £1.49 billion (+1.3%)
- Environment & Rural Affairs £0.28 billion (+0.3%)
- Central Services & Administration £0.28 billion (-9.7%)
Percentage cuts and increases have been adjusted for inflation. These figures do not include capital expenditure and over £1 billion of demand-led expenditure.
A leading lung charity has called for services that relate to the diagnosis and treatment of a chronic lung conditions to be improved, following a new report by the Royal College of Physicians.
The British Lung Foundation Wales says that there are gaps in the diagnosis and care given to those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The progress made in improving the diagnosis of and treatment for those with COPD must be welcomed, but this report shows there is much to do to ensure everyone in Wales has access to good quality respiratory services.
What’s particularly concerning is that not only are many COPD patients not having their diagnosis confirmed with an x-ray, but too many then aren’t being referred to pulmonary rehabilitation to help them manage their condition and prevent it from getting worse. Making better use of high value treatments like pulmonary rehab will not only improve patients’ quality of life, but save our NHS money in the long run.