The Welsh National Health Service must “accelerate” the treatment of patients who have waited over two years for hospital care, according to the health minister.
Eluned Morgan said that health boards must prioritize the “longer waiters, which they do not always do.”
In Wales, there are 59,350 persons waiting over two years, however the number has decreased for the sixth consecutive month.
The Welsh NHS Confederation, which represents NHS health organizations, has been requested to comment on the matter.
In Wales, 183,450 surgeries and treatments have a wait time of over a year.
From referral to treatment, total wait times have surpassed 750,000.
Scotland has 7,650 patients who have waited over two years, whereas England has 2,646.
When asked on BBC Politics Wales why so many more people are waiting longer in Wales, Ms. Morgan said, “Our health boards need to ensure that they are removing individuals from the longest waits, which is not always the case.”
Waiting for surgery “destroyed” my finances.
Stewart Rathbone of Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, has been awaiting a hip replacement for almost two years.
The 58-year-old had worked on a dairy farm that provided a home for his family.
Mr. Rathbone was unable to work due to his worsening hip and was forced to relocate.
“It financially ruined me. We were completely decimated as a family,” he claimed.
“Had I undergone the procedure from the beginning, everything happened to my family would not have occurred.
“I would likely still be employed on the same farm.”
Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservative Party, highlighted the issue of people waiting hours for an ambulance in the Senedd last week, sparking a furious reaction from First Minister Mark Drakeford.
“Consequently, we do not have the funds to spend on the NHS that we would want at a time when demand is soaring.
“We’ve already hired an extra 250 ambulance personnel, and another 100 are on the way.
“They’ll be ready by December… a little later than we’d intended, but we wouldn’t be ready if we hadn’t begun our recruiting push in April.”
“This is my job”
Mr. RT Davies said on the broadcast that the first minister’s response in the Senedd when Mr. Drakeford accused the Conservatives of ruining the UK’s economy and image was “beyond reproach.”
Mr. RT Davies said, “As opposition leader, I had the audacity to call up two specific incidents of individuals…who had to wait too long for ambulances to come.”
“This is my responsibility, but the first minister’s attempt to divert blame onto the UK government demonstrates that the Welsh Labour administration has run out of solutions.
“Yes, the money comes from Westminster, but it’s up to the devolved governments to choose how it’s distributed.
“From 2010 to 2015, the Welsh Labour administration was the only government in the United Kingdom to vote to reduce its NHS budget, whereas all other governments – whether nationalist in Scotland, Conservative in Westminster, or executive in Northern Ireland – safeguarded the health budget.
“Therein are the origins of the situation we have today,” he said.
The instance of 79-year-old Keith Morris, who was left in anguish on the floor for 15 hours while waiting for an ambulance, was brought up.
Andrea Morris Nicholas, his daughter and a lifelong Labour supporter, told Politics Wales that she was “disappointed” with Mr Drakeford’s response and that “he must take responsibility.”
Ms. Morgan told Politics Wales, in response to a question about whether the first minister and Welsh government took responsibility, “We are accountable for operating the NHS.”
“I believe it’s vital for people to recognize that we have budgetary constraints.