Radical Action Call to Tackle 999 Pressures; AMs Urge End to Uncertainty

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM BODDEN Welsh Affairs Correspondent @tombod

A CRITICAL inquiry urges the Welsh Government today to "end uncertainty" over the future of hospital emergency departments.

The four-month long investigation by a cross-party committee of AMs also raised concern over "inconsistencies" in performance-related data in the NHS.

The public accounts committee launched its inquiry after a report from the Auditor General for Wales which found that unscheduled care services in some areas were getting worse, particularly in patient waiting times.

Doctors in North Wales were told in January that the health board had suspended non-urgent surgery for a week amid "sustained and heavy demand" on accident and emergency services.

The decision came the day after an inquest into the death of 74-year-old Fred Pring who died while waiting for an emergency ambulance. AMs found there had been some improvement in services since that report was published.

Darren Millar AM: 'Radical solutions are required' But Clwyd West AM Darren Millar, chair of the public accounts committee, said: "Radical solutions are required to address the challenges faced by our health services.

"We also want to see an end to the uncertainty surrounding the provision of emergency health departments - especially given the challenge that this is presenting to recruitment in our hospitals."

Pressures facing the delivery of unscheduled care services in Wales were complex, he said. "While there has been an effort by those working within NHS Wales to drive forward improvement, we are yet to see the major step change in performance that the people of Wales need. …