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Call for decisions over healthcare reorganisation plans

There's been a call for an end to uncertainty over the future of emergency care at Welsh hospitals. The Assembly's Public Affairs Committee says that services at some A&E departments are getting worse while they face the threat of closure.

Plans are in place to centralise A&E units at some hospitals across Wales, but today's report says that firm decisions on whether those proposals will go ahead need to be made urgently, as Hannah Thomas reports.

Calls to end 'uncertainty' around A&E Departments

The Committee say they want to see an end to uncertainty surrounding the provision of emergency health departments like this one Credit: PA

There are calls from a National Assembly Committee for the Welsh Government and local health boards, to 'end uncertainty' surrounding emergency departments in Wales.

The Public Accounts Committee has also raised concerns about inconsistencies in the way performance-related data is collected by the NHS.

A report from the Auditor General for Wales found unscheduled care services in some areas were getting worse - particularly around patient waiting times.

Although the Committee notes there have been reports of some improvement since that report was published.

The Committee makes 18 recommendations in its report including:

• More work by the Welsh Government to promote the choices available to patients, and the means by which they are delivered.

• That the Welsh Government work with health boards to develop a wider suite of performance measures for unscheduled care.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said:

"We welcome the publication of the Public Accounts Committee report into unscheduled care.

We will consider the report findings closely and respond to the committee in due course."

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Welsh Tories: Funding cuts to blame for A&E problems

The Welsh Conservatives say Welsh Government cuts to the NHS here are "putting unprecedented pressure on staff and constraining capacity".

Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar says the target for the number of patients waiting over four hours in A&E departments has not been met once since Carwyn Jones became First Minister nearly four years ago.

Waiting in a busy A&E department for over four hours causes unimaginable distress and discomfort to patients, especially the elderly, young children and other vulnerable people.

Labour’s cuts of over £800m in real terms over five years are putting unprecedented pressure on staff and constraining capacity.

Full A&E units can prevent ambulances from discharging patients so they’ll be queued up outside hospitals and prevented from responding to emergency calls.

The Welsh Government must provide extra cash to the Welsh NHS so fewer patients are forced to endure such unbearable waits for treatment.

– Darren Millar, Shadow Health Minister

Welsh Govt: 'Moving in right direction' over A&E

The Welsh Government says a 78.7 percent fall in the number of patients waiting for more than 12 hours in A&E departments is "a considerable achievement", which shows health boards are "moving in the right direction."

Waiting times in A&E have improved for the fourth month in succession, with the percentage of patients being seen within four hours at its highest point this year.

Since April, the number of patients spending 12 hours or more in emergency care facilities has fallen by 78.7 per cent (from 2,268 to 483).

This is a considerable achievement and shows Health Boards moving in the right direction to tackle the challenges facing A&E.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

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483 patients waited more than 12 hours in A&E in June

The targets for the number of patients being seen in Accident and Emergency departments within four and 12 hours were missed in June.

New patients spending less than four hours in all emergency care facilities from arrival, until admission, transfer or discharge:

  • Target - 95 percent
  • Figure for June - 92.9 percent

Patients spending 12 hours or more from arrival until admission, transfer or discharge in June 2013:

  • Target - "eradication"
  • Figure for June - 483

A&E waiting time targets missed

The Welsh Government says health boards are "moving in the right direction to tackle the challenges facing A&E", despite the two headline targets for waiting times in Accident and Emergency Departments in the NHS in Wales being missed in figures released today.

A&E departments have faced unprecedented pressures in recent months. Credit: PA

The target for 2013-14 is to eradicate waits of more than 12 hours in emergency care - but, in June, 483 patients had to wait for more than 12 hours.

Another target - for 95 percent of patients to spend less than for hours waiting - was also missed.

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